Transition team promises to scrap business curfew after COVID-19 peaks

SEOUL-- The transition team of President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol said Wednesday it will scrap the curfew on business hours once the spread of COVID-19 passes its peak.

South Korea has enforced strict business restrictions through most of the pandemic, including caps on the size of private gatherings and curfews for restaurants, cafes and other facilities.

Currently, restaurants and cafes are allowed to open until 11 p.m.

"As soon as the health authorities confirm that the spread of COVID-19 has passed its peak, the business restrictions will be abolished," Shin Yong-hyeon, the transition team spokesperson, said during a press briefing.

The special COVID-19 committee under the transition team has determined that nine out of 11 organizations believe infections have entered a downward trend, she said.

South Korea has been grappling with its worst wave of the virus as the highly transmissible omicron variant has fueled infections and pushed up serious cases and deaths.

The total caseload has surpassed 12 million in a country of 52 million, according to the health authorities.

Won Il-hee, a deputy spokesperson of the transition team, noted that it is not up to the team to determine whether infections have peaked as it is not made up of health experts.

"The transition team asked for active consideration of a complete abolition of the business restrictions, and the health authorities are basically in agreement," he said.

"We are following the principle that decisions should be made based on scientific data, not political judgment," he added.

Source: Yonhap News Agency