The government on Nov. 1 started the first phase of its four-week "gradual return to daily life" after 70% of the population were fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Streets regained vitality as restrictions on business hours and the number of people per private gathering at multipurpose facilities were lifted. To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the government adopted the "quarantine pass" system of confirming full vaccination or a negative test for COVID-19 at facilities deemed to have a higher risk of infection.
The Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters said the program's three phases of quarantine measures will run through January, with an interval of six weeks between each stage comprising four weeks of operation and two weeks of evaluation.
The following photos are glimpses of life in Korea ten days after the start of the first phase of living with the coronavirus.
As a part of the first stage of "living with COVID-19" that began on Nov. 1 at 5 a.m., restrictions on business hours at most multipurpose facilities including restaurants and cafes were lifted, enabling operations 24 hours a day. The photo shows crowds of people at Jonggak Avenue of Youth near Bosingak Pavilion on the evening of Nov. 4 at Jonggak Station in Seoul's Jongno-go District. (Kim Sunjoo)
With the limit on a private gathering raised to 10 people in the Seoul metropolitan region and 12 in the rest of the country, restaurants have seen business rebound. People on Nov. 10 eat lunch at restaurants in a building in Seoul's Jongno-gu District. (Park Hye Ri)
Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul's Songpa-gu District on Nov. 5 is packed with fans watching Game 2 of the first round of the Korean Baseball Organization's playoffs between the Doosan Bears and LG Twins. To enter, spectators had to present their quarantine passes including certification of full vaccination or a recent negative result for COVID-19 when entering. (Yonhap News)
On the opening day of the first phase of "living with COVID-19," visitors on the morning of Nov. 1 look at the art collection of the late Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul's Jongno-gu District. With restrictions on visitor capacity at major national galleries lifted, the event saw the limit per hour double from 30 to 60 people with online reservations mandatory. The exhibition runs through March next year. (Yonhap News)
Buddhists on Nov. 1 pray at a service held every Sunday at Jogyesa Temple in Seoul's Jongno-gu District. On the same day, the temple expanded its capacity for indoor prayer at its main hall Daewoongjeon to 150 people, or half of the previous number before the pandemic. Those fully vaccinated can receive a vaccine pass and participate in all temple events without restriction. (Yonhap News)
A wedding on the morning of Nov. 7 is held on the first weekend after the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions at a wedding hall in Seoul. The first phase of the opening allows up to 99 attendees at events and demonstrations for unvaccinated people and up to 499 if everyone who attends is either fully vaccinated or submits a negative test for COVID-19. (Yonhap News)
People in Korea can now consume food at a movie theater or outdoor sports stadium. Those who show certification of full vaccination or a recent negative result for COVID-19 at entry can indulge in popcorn, chicken, beverages and beer at separate sections in either venue. (Yonhap News)