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7 in 10 Koreans support imposing fines on mask violators: poll

An official from Yancheon-gu, western Seoul, briefs on the face mask mandate to visitors at a cafe in the district on Friday. (Yangcheon-gu)
An official from Yancheon-gu, western Seoul, briefs on the face mask mandate to visitors at a cafe in the district on Friday. (Yangcheon-gu)
More than 70 percent of Koreans are in favor of the fines imposed on violators of face mask rules that went into effect Friday, a poll showed Monday.

According to a Realmeter survey of 500 adults, 72 percent of respondents said they support penalizing those violating the face mask mandate. Some 24.8 percent said the fines are excessive, and the rest replied with no opinion.

Starting Friday, South Korea began imposing fines of 100,000 won ($90) on those who do not wear masks in designated public facilities as the country struggles to stave off a winter wave of coronavirus infections.

Face coverings are mandatory for those using public transportation, participating in rallies, visiting medical and care centers and more. Certain types of bars and karaoke establishments, indoor gyms, large study cafes, buffet restaurants and logistics centers are also subject to the rule.

Operators of the listed facilities or demonstration organizers can be fined up to 3 million won for failing to enforce the requirements in accordance with the Infectious Disease Control and Prevention Act.

The Realmeter poll found broad-base support for the mask mandate, but respondents who identified themselves as liberals were more supportive than conservative counterparts.

Some 76.9 percent of the liberal respondents and 89.4 percent of those supporting the liberal ruling Democratic Party of Korea viewed the measure positively, while 63.8 percent of conservatives and 55.9 percent of supporters of the conservative main opposition People Power Party did so.

By Ko Jun-tae (ko.juntae@heraldcorp.com)
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