3 years ago

S. Korea to close popular New Year's gathering spots amid third wave of COVID-19

Arirang News
Arirang News
지자체, 명소 페쇄부터 드론 가동까지... 해맞이객 차단에 사활

We are just under five hours away from the year 2021 here in South Korea.
But some of the usual places where people gather to ring in... the New Year will be empty.
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, municipal governments are banning gatherings at popular hotspots to watch the year's first sunrise.
And, for the first time in nearly 70 years, the traditional bell-ringing event... in central Seoul is going virtual.
Han Seong-woo reports.
One of the most popular things to do on New Year's Day in South Korea is to watch the year's first sunrise along the East Coast.
But this time, there won't be thousands of people packed at Jeongdongjin Beach in Gangwon-do Province... or at Pohang's Homigot Sunrise Square in Gyeongsangbuk-do Province either.
By closing beaches and sealing off parking lots, local governments are taking preventative measures.
The coastal city of Gangneung in Gangwon-do Province will even fly drones overhead to check for possible trespassers.
And restaurants in the area can only offer take-out or delivery until 3 PM on New Year's Day.
As for the capital area, Guri in Gyeonggi-do Province has already closed the parking lot to its Hangang River Park
"A popular spot to watch the sunrise in Seoul, Sunyugyo Bridge in Yeongdeungpo-gu District will be closed to visitors from the moment the clock hits midnight until 8 AM New Year's Day."
The bridge and the wooden deck usually attract hundreds of spectators every year to see the sun rise above the National Assembly.
"It's a pity but we'll have to follow government guidelines. If staying at home is one way to quickly put an end to COVID-19, I believe citizens should willingly cooperate."
But, people will still be able to watch the sunrise.... from the comfort of their own homes.
SK Innovation will broadcast the New Year sunrise live from the southeastern port city of Ulsan via its official YouTube channel for about an hour starting at 7 AM.
Also going non-contact is the annual New Year's Eve bell-ringing ceremony at Bosingak Pavilion in Seoul's Jongno-gu District.
In cooperation with SK Telecom, Seoul will carry out the event virtually on its official government website...after being forced to cancel for the first time in 67 years.
Arirang TV will also air an online version of the ceremony featuring prerecorded footage and previous bell-ringings.
Han Seong-woo, Arirang News.