SEOUL, May 10 (Korea Bizwire) — With the return of the ‘pre-pandemic era’ following two years of social distancing, many people are still reluctant to take off their face masks, fearful of revealing their looks.
Despite the end of outdoor masking rules, a 27-year-old surnamed Kim ordered another pack of protective masks online.
“I’ve gained too much weight staying indoors for the past two years, so I’m still wearing my mask outside,” Kim said.
A drop in physical activity and heightened consumption of delivery food and other instant meals during the pandemic era have resulted in higher obesity rates.
According to a 2021 study on health in local communities published by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, those with a body mass index of more than 25 accounted for 32.2 percent of all respondents, indicating that close to one-third of all respondents were obese.
Besides weight, many people were still afraid to expose their faces for other reasons.
“I’ve received acne treatment in the past. But during the pandemic, I stopped taking it since I could just cover up skin blemishes with a mask,” said Kim Yeon-soo, a 26-year-old office worker.
“Ever since the mask rules were relaxed, I began searching for a new hospital to restart my acne treatment.”
“Many people are so well adjusted to the practice of wearing protective masks that taking them off feels like too much exposure,” said Koo Jeong-woo, a sociology professor at Sungkyunkwan University.
“The so-called ‘lookism’ that’s rampant in our society is making it even more difficult for a lot of people to take off their masks.”
H. M. Kang (email@example.com)