SEOUL, Nov. 26 (Korea Bizwire) — After the South Korean government started enforcing Level 2 social distancing guidelines for the greater Seoul area from Tuesday, the owners of cafés in these areas are voicing strong complaints about unfair restrictions on business operations.
Under the Level 2 social distancing guidelines, cafes are banned from providing indoor dining service, while food restaurants are permitted to offer such services until 9 p.m.
“I can’t understand why some types of businesses where people stay longer than in cafes to enjoy food and liquor without wearing masks are less restricted than coffee shops,” said Kim Hee-Ki, a 43-year-old man who runs a café in the popular Sinchon neighborhood of Seoul.
Restaurants, for example, are permitted to serve ‘dine-in’ customers until 9 p.m, and can only offer takeout services after that.
“It’s nonsense to ban ‘dine-in’ service at cafés despite their efforts to increase distance and install partitions between tables, while permitting food restaurants to operate normally.” said a 52-year-old man who manages a franchise café in Seoul’s Seocho District.
Café owners are not the only group who is voicing strong complaints. The owners of bakeries, where ‘dine-in’ services are also banned, are strongly reacting against the inequality.
On Wednesday morning, a private bakery in Seocho District got rid of all of its seats.
As sales of sandwiches – particularly popular among dine-in customers – declined sharply from a day earlier, the bakery was forced to cut back on its bread production.
“I admit that we need to strengthen disinfection and quarantine efforts,” said a 52-year-old bakery owner.
“However, the level 2 social distancing guidelines that allow sandwich shops and convenience stores to provide ‘dine-in’ service during the daytime, while banning bakeries from providing such services have some problem in light of equality and effectiveness.”
Ashley Song (email@example.com)