An official from the Yangcheon District Office in Seoul hands out notices to café customers reminding them they can face a fine of up to 100,000 won for failing to properly wear masks on Nov. 13, 2020. (Photo: Yonhap News)
People in South Korea who fail to properly wear masks in public spaces and on public transportation will now face fines under new rules that took full effect on Friday.
Authorities are hoping the mask mandate will bolster efforts aimed at containing COVID-19 amid the steady spread of infections.
Ron Chang reports.
For the most part, South Koreans and foreigners in the country have adhered to public health guidance on the importance of wearing masks since the start of the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year.
But some have been complacent, forgetting or refusing to wear masks, or incorrectly wearing them so their nose is exposed.
Such acts and carelessness will now be met with fines of up to 100,000 won.
This mask mandate was announced over a month ago, however there is still some confusion about when people should wear masks and how it will be enforced.
Anyone caught not wearing a mask properly on mass transportation, indoor public spaces and facilities, including hospitals, nursing homes, pharmacies, clubs, bars, churches and gyms will be fined.
People will also be required to wear masks in outdoor public areas and at restaurants and cafes when they are not eating or drinking.
Officials from district and local government offices said they will be checking on facilities to crack down on violators.
Seoul's Gangnam District Office said that when people are spotted without masks, they will be told to put one on and fined on the spot if they refuse.
Officials have said that ultimately mask rules are aimed at keeping communities safe rather than inconveniencing those who don't wear them.
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