SEOUL, Aug. 28 (Yonhap) — South Korea said Friday that it will begin to restrict operating hours of restaurants and bakeries in the greater Seoul area this weekend in the latest move to contain the fast spread of the new coronavirus.
Under the plan set to take effect on Sunday, restaurants and bakeries can operate until 9 p.m. and only takeaway and delivery is permitted after 9 p.m.
The move — which is set to last until Sept. 6 — is part of the government’s strengthened anti-virus curbs as South Korea is struggling to curb spiking virus cases.
In the case of franchise coffee chains, only takeout or delivery will be possible as cluster infections tied to coffee shops have been reported.
Health authorities will also make one-third of all employees working at government agencies and public institutions work at home. They also recommended private companies take similar steps.
“While keeping social distancing guidelines at Level 2, the government has decided to implement stronger quarantine measures starting Sunday for eight days,” Health Minister Park Neunghoo said in a briefing.
“We will also prepare to raise the level of social distancing to Level 3 at any time.”
South Korea’s new virus cases have been in the triple digits since Aug. 14, with more than 3,800 new cases identified across the nation over the past 15 days.
The country raised social distancing guidelines in the greater capital region for two weeks in mid-August and expanded it across the nation last Sunday. But despite the stricter anti-virus steps, the number of new infections has not shown signs of easing.
sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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