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Masks mandatory on buses, subways, hospitals and rallies starting Tuesday

Face masks will be mandatory on public transportation and in medical and care facilities starting Tuesday as South Korea continues to combat the coronavirus outbreak.

The requirement under the Infectious Disease Control and Prevention Act was put in place to fight the spread of infectious diseases such as COVID-19.

A fine of up to 100,000 won ($87) will be levied for not wearing masks on buses, subways or trains. Anyone without masks at medical or care facilities or demonstrations is also subject to a fine.

Public transit operators and rally organizers can be fined up to 3 million won for failing to enforce the government requirement.

But those under the age of 14 and those who are unable to wear masks due to medical conditions will be exempt from the requirement. The face mask requirement also does not apply when people are eating, swimming or washing their faces.

Face masks must be worn completely over the nose and mouth. Wearing non-protective face gear such as scarves does not satisfy the face mask requirement.

The government plans to start imposing fines on violators after a 30-day grace period.

The scope of public places subject to the face mask requirement could expand depending on the level of social distancing that is imposed. Local governments are allowed to adjust the scope depending on the virus situation in a particular region.

By Ko Jun-tae (
catch table
Korea Herald daum