Public-use businesses in Gyeonggi Province, which surrounds Seoul, were ordered on Wednesday to thoroughly observe a set of guidelines for preventing the coronavirus outbreak.
Issuing a rare administrative order, the provincial government instructed internet cafes, karaoke rooms, clubs and other places of business frequented by the public to abide by seven quarantine requirements, including regular disinfection and ventilation, until April 6 to help curb the spread of COVID-19.
The government said the administrative order will be applied to about 15,000 public-use establishments in the province whose confined spaces may increase the risk of virus transmissions through droplets.
Such establishments are ordered to designate quarantine managers, have all employees and customers wear a face mask, ban the entry of people with fever or respiratory symptoms, list all visitors and their contact numbers, conduct hand disinfection for all visitors and maintain the maximum distance between customers.
Violators will face a fine of up to 3 million won (US$2,400) and a suspension of business. If coronavirus infections occur at violators' premises, the government will also demand an indemnity over the relevant quarantine and treatment expenses.
The Gyeonggi government issued a similar administrative order for about 140 churches on Tuesday, imposing strict conditions on their offline worship services to help combat the coronavirus outbreak, which has so far infected more than 8,400 people in South Korea. Gyeonggi Province's coronavirus patients now number 277, compared with 270 in Seoul.
The successive administrative orders came after a string of cluster infections occurred at churches, internet cafes and other places of business in the capital area.
"The provincial government tried its best to avoid restraining economic activities amid difficult economic circumstances. The administrative order is inevitable to prevent cluster infections at clubs, internet cafes, karaoke rooms and other public-use facilities due to the danger of droplet-based transmissions," Gov. Lee Jae-myung said in a news conference. (Yonhap)