The Korea Herald


Level 1.5 social distancing impacts culture sector

By Park Yuna

Published : Nov. 17, 2020 - 18:01

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National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea’s Deoksugung venue in central Seoul (MMCA) National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea’s Deoksugung venue in central Seoul (MMCA)

As South Korea decided Tuesday to tighten the social distancing rules to Level 1.5 in the Greater Seoul area from the current Level 1, the cultural sectors will have to make adjustments to comply with restrictions for state-run and public facilities, performance halls, religious facilities and movie theaters.

The stricter social distancing rules will go into effect Thursday in Seoul and Gyeonggi Province, and Monday in Incheon. The announcement came after the region began to see a coronavirus resurgence, with the number of new cases exceeding 200 for four consecutive days.

For state-run and other public cultural facilities, the number of users will be limited to 50 percent of capacity. Starting Thursday, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, will only accommodate 50 percent of its maximum capacity, from the current 70 percent, and will continue requiring preregistration of visitors. The museum’s Seoul and Gwacheon venues will accept 800 visitors daily, while the number of visitors will be downsized to 560 daily for the Deoksugung venue, according to the museum.

Exhibitions and fairs with fewer than 100 people will be permitted, with one person allowed for each 4 square meters of space. The same restrictions will apply to weddings.

For religious activities such as Protestant worship services, Roman Catholic Masses and Buddhist ceremonies, only 30 percent of all seats can be occupied, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare. Hosting meetings or having meals at religious facilities will be banned.

Theaters and performance halls will operate with every other seat left vacant. For indoor standing performance halls, eating will be restricted.

The second concert series of the popular TV program “Tomorrow Mister Trot,” scheduled for Nov. 19-22 at the KSPO Dome in Songpa-gu, southeastern Seoul, was postponed after Tuesday’s announcement.

Meanwhile, organizers of “Notre Dame de Paris,” a musical that opened last week at Blue Square Interpark Hall near Itaewon, said discussions are underway concerning possible changes in seating.

By Park Yuna (