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S. Korean pro baseball reopens to fans Updated: 2020-07-28 08:46:22 KST

Many SPORTING EVENTS across the globe have EITHER been canceled or postponed amid the pandemic.
Here in Korea HOWEVER the professional BASEBALL league is opening its STADIUM to SPECTATORS ALBEIT in LIMITED CAPACITY.
I have our Kim Dami here in the studio with more on the NEW NORMAL in the SPORTS ARENA.
Welcome back Dami.

Good afternoon, Sunhee.

Dami news of baseball stadiums opening doors was met with much joy by fans nationwide.

Right Sunhee, two months into the season, Korea's professional baseball league finally played its first games with fans in the stadium.
A total of five venues, including two in Seoul and one in Suwon, were open to spectators this past weekend.
Fans jumped at the opportunity, with tickets in Seoul selling out in under a minute, while 90 percent of the tickets in Suwon were sold.

(KOREAN - )
"I'm thrilled and excited to finally see a baseball game in person."

Under the government's latest COVID-19 guidelines, stadiums had to limit spectators to only 10 percent of their capacity.
So, at Jamsil Baseball Stadium here in the capital, out of 25-thousand seats, only 25-hundred were filled.
And all tickets were sold in advance online, to allow staff to trace visitors in case of an outbreak.
For that same purpose, all visitors had to check in by scanning a QR code.
The electronic register is easy enough to be used by anyone.
Foreign media outlets also praised the reopening of the country's professional baseball league.
Sharing live coverage of a game at Jamsil Staidum, ESPN said Korea's hosting of spectators was a victory for the league.

Right the atmosphere was livelier with fans in the stands but strict precautions were in place no doubt.
Tell us about the league's measures to prevent an outbreak at stadiums.

First of all, spectators are not allowed to sit next to each other.
And unfortunately, it's going to be a lot harder to enjoy Korea's unique culture of dining and cheering at the stadium.
To prevent the spread of any droplets, eating is restricted, including the country's most popular ballgame snack of chicken and beer.
Visitors are allowed to eat, but only in designated areas.
They are also prohibited from singing and chanting in groups.

(KOREAN - )
"Normally, I'd be sitting next to my friend, chanting with her and eating snacks. We can't do that today, but I'm still happy that I watch the game."

There will be cheerleaders however, dancing to a medley of songs.
Of course, during the game, face masks are mandatory at all times.
This rule applies to the cheerleaders as well.
All these guidelines are posted up on the scoreboard as a constant reminder.
And despite all these new restrictions, the presence of fans means a lot to the players on the field.

(KOREAN - )
"Fans have to sit apart from one another and are not allowed to cheer in groups, but the players are still thankful because fans coming to the game means a lot to us."

Dami what's the plan for other sports?
Do they also plan on welcoming back spectators?

Other professional sports leagues are following baseball's lead.
The K-league will welcome back soccer fans on August 1st, and they will gradually expand the number of spectators depending on the pandemic situation.
The same rules apply, including temperature checks, wearing of masks and social distancing.
There will be no offline gatherings, including fan signing events.
And the K-league has prepared guidelines and preventive measures in case of any emergency.

(KOREAN - )
"Players whose body temperature is 37.5 Celsius or higher right before the game will have to wait five minutes and re-check their temperature. If it stays the same, the player will have to return home."

And players who've come into contact with a COVID-19 case will be put in self-quarantine for at least two weeks.
Teams will have to postpone their games for at least two weeks, if any one of their players come into contact with a COVID-19 patient.
And unfortunately for golf, fans will have to wait until the end of next month for more details on how the tour plans to welcome back galleries.

Now aside from sports museums libraries and art galleries in the Seoul metropolitan area have also reopened?

Right, after being shut down for more than a month, cultural and art venues are now open to the public here in Seoul.
But just like sports, they must only allow a certain number of visitors to prevent overcrowding.
Here, the QR code verification system comes in handy once again to monitor visitors.
Of course, visitors are being asked to abide by strict disease prevention measures.

(KOREAN - )
"In the early stages, facilities should limit the number of visitors, introduce an electronic registration system, and visitors are asked to wear face masks. We will allow more visitors in phases."

Ten major museums, including the National Museum of Korea, are only letting in up to 30 percent of its maximum capacity.
Reservations must be made in advance.
Eight major art venues like the National Theater of Korea are limiting the number of people allowed to 50 percent of their capacity.
Nonetheless, people are happy to be back and are slowly but surely adapting to the new normal.

All right Dami thank you for that report and hope to see you back here soon.

My pleasure.
KOGL : Korea Open Government License
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