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Seoul to keep outdoor swimming pools closed this summer due to pandemic


Outdoor swimming pools located along the Han River that runs through Seoul will remain closed this summer due to the coronavirus, the metropolitan government said Sunday.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government's Hangang Project Headquarters announced the decision not to operate all seven riverside pools and water parks this summer, citing difficulties in maintaining quarantine rules amid a recent spike in local infections of COVID-19.

There are clear limits to the enforcement of anti-coronavirus rules and concerns about mass infections, due to the unique characteristics of the outdoor swimming facilities, it explained.

The agency, citing the coronavirus fear, had postponed the operation of three outdoor swimming pools in the Ttukseom, Gwangnaru and Yeouido areas and two swimming areas in the Nanji and Yanghwa districts, which are accessible to people in ordinary clothing, deciding to run them from June 26 until Aug. 23.

Beginning Wednesday, the Seoul government has gradually reopened various public facilities in Han River parks, including J-Bug Cultural Complex (featuring a library, artworks and cafe in Gwangjin Ward), Seoul Battleship Park (in Mangwon-dong of Mapo Ward), Riverview 8th Avenue (located on the Gwangjin Bridge), and Bamseom Ecological Experience Center (near Yeouido), which were closed on May 29 due to the coronavirus outbreak.

"The decision to keep outdoor swimming pools closed was made after the top priority was given to the safety of citizens," said Shin Yong-mok, a ranking official at the Hangang headquarters. "The municipal government will make its best effort in the future to make Han River parks safe for all citizens," he said. (Yonhap)