SEOUL, Aug. 27 (Korea Bizwire) — Many government bodies in South Korea, including those in all major metropolitan areas, have made it mandatory to wear a mask both indoor and outdoor as a part of efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Nonetheless, voices are growing that it’s difficult to crack down on people not wearing masks particularly at cafes and convenience stores, where people commonly consume food and beverage products.
It’s natural for people not to wear masks when eating food. Even the mandatory mask-wearing rule includes an exceptional clause that allows people to remove their mask when eating or sleeping.
In cafes, however, it’s a legal obligation for people to wear masks when they talk.
On Internet communities for those who work at cafes, disputes are heating up over how to deal with non-mask-wearing customers.
“If a customer tests positive for COVID-19, we have to shut down the café. I wish customers would wear masks before and after eating,” a café owner said.
The situation is similar at convenience stores, which not only sell food and beverages but also allow people to eat them indoors. Convenience store workers have difficulty in dealing with non-mask-wearing customers.
“One out of five customers is not wearing a mask. When we ask them to wear a mask, they ignore our request, with some using aggressive language with us,” a part-timer at a convenience store said.
Experts recommend that the COVID-19 guidelines for the places where eating or sleeping is possible should be more detailed.
“The government set the guidelines for high-risk facilities late June. It’s time to modify the guidelines since new risks have surfaced over the past two months.” said Jung Ki-suck, a professor of pulmonology at Hallym University and a former chief of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)