We have less than a week to go until the Chuseok holiday kicks off, and health authorities are on high alert as people are expected to travel and gather in large groups.
Naturally, the government is worried that such large movements of people could trigger a fresh wave of new COVID-19 cases.
For more, we have our Kim Dami with us today here in the studio.
Good afternoon, Sunhee.
Dami, just a few hours ago, the government announced a fresh set of COVID-19 measures for the upcoming Chuseok holiday.
Tell us more.
Sunhee, level two social distancing measures will remain in place for the upcoming holiday to prevent any further spread of the virus.
The government says strengthened guidelines will be in effect to minimize the risk associated with the large movement of people. Take a listen.
(KOREAN - )
"During the holidays, our disease control and healthcare systems will be placed on an emergency footing. To ensure smooth testing, screening centers will be operating normally in all regions. The two-week span from September 28th to October 11th will be designated as a special disease containment period, where enhanced social distancing measures will be in effect."
So that means no gatherings of more than 50 people indoors and more than 100 outdoors.
That applies to all parties and gatherings at small villages, which is common sight during the Chuseok holiday.
ALL sporting events will continue to be held without spectators.
For the metropolitan area, eleven high-risk facilities including singing rooms and buffet restaurants will have to close.
Regular restaurants, bakeries and highway rest areas with more than 20 seats must enforce one-meter social distances.
If abiding by these rules is difficult, they have to keep one empty seat or table between others, or install partitions.
But in non-metropolitan areas, five high-risk facilities will not be allowed to operate.
That includes bars and other types of establishments that serve alcohol.
Church gatherings and eating at churches in the greater Seoul area will be prohibited.
Technically, all services will have to be held online.
But indoor public facilities will be in operation, so as long as masks are worn, and the number of visitors are limited.
ALL PC rooms across the country can operate and users can also eat there as long as users keep an empty seat next to them.
The same applies to theaters and concert halls in the metropolitan region, and visitors to amusement parks and water parks will have to reserve tickets in advance online.
They will have to keep the number of visitors to 50 percent of their capacity.
In fact, many people are booking hotel rooms and other accommodations to spend their holidays there.
Almost 95 percent and over 50 percent of all hotel rooms are now booked in Gangwon-do Province and Jeju Island respectively for the Chuseok period.
With these two regions being the country's most popular tourist destinations, preventive measures will be stricter than ever during the holiday.
Enhanced disease control measures will be in effect from September 26th to October 4th for Jeju Island.
So during that period, no parties and other large gatherings will be allowed at guest houses or restaurants.
Those with a body temperature of 37.five degrees Celsius or above must get tested and isolate themselves.
Korea's ruling Democratic Party, the government and the presidential office vowed to quickly allocate funds from the fourth extra budget, which includes the second round of emergency cash handouts. Tell us more.
Right, the government plans to execute about 70 percent of the fourth extra budget before next week's Chuseok holidays.
That's to provide financial relief to people hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.
(KOREAN - ) edited
"Of the seven.eight trillion won budget, 70 percent will be executed before the Chuseok holiday so I believe citizens will feel relieved."
Starting yesterday, payments amounting to roughly 430 dollars have been handed out to non-permanent workers and freelancers, numbering some half-a-million individuals.
Financial aid will also be provided to two.four million small business owners before Chuseok on a first-come-first-served-basis.
Applications must be submitted before 5 PM next Monday in order to get the funds before Chuseok, but those eligible can still apply anytime to get the funds later.
For small business owners who did not face quarantine restrictions, a lump sum of about 850 dollars will be given to those who qualify.
But those who had to shorten their operating hours will get around one,two-hundred-90 dollars regardless of their annual revenue.
For business owners who've been forced to suspend their operations entirely will be given about one,seven-hundred 20 dollars.
Text messages were sent to all eligible small business owners on Wednesday and they will be able to apply online through a weblink included in the text message.
The procedure has been simplified, and they only need to provide their business registration number, verify their personal information, and enter their bank account details.
The funds will be transferred to their account as early as the following day.
Also, by next Tuesday, parents with young children will be provided with 170 dollars per child under the age of 14.
The government will also start distributing about 430 dollars on Tuesday to low income-earners, and young job-seekers who are currently out of work.
Alright, thanks for joining us today, Dami.