Hotel hopes second try of real-life 'Squid Game' will succeedSt. John's Hotel in Gangwon will attempt once more to host a real-life "Squid Game" inspired by the hit Netflix series — minus the casualties.
The event was first shut down last month by the Gangneung city government because it violated the social distancing guidelines in place at the time.
"Now that Korea has adopted the 'With Corona' policy [akin to 'Living with Covid' measures elsewhere], our hotel has decided to reschedule the event for Nov. 21," the hotel announced in a statement on Tuesday.
The renewed event tweaked its name, from "Saint Games" to "Saint Game Returns," according to the four-star St. John's Hotel in Gangneung, Gangwon.
The hotel also doubled the prize money for the final winner to 10 million won ($8,500).
The event will consist of various re-enactments of the original show, including five games that appeared in the series which are marbles, tug of war, the dalgona game (in which players attempt to cut out a shape in the melted sugar candy), "red light, green light" and slap-match.
All activities will be held outdoors, at either a pine forest or a beach near the hotel.
Participation is limited to those who have been fully vaccinated for over 14 days so as to not violate the government's Covid-19 regulations under the new "With Corona" policy which allows up to 500 fully vaccinated people at events.
Participants do not have to be staying at the hotel to be able to register.
Masks will be mandatory and anyone who does not oblige will be forced out of the event by the hotel staff, according to the event's promotion post on the hotel website.
The registration period for "Saint Game Returns" is from Tuesday to Thursday. The entry fee is 10,000 won.
The hotel said that if more than enough people sign up, they will randomly draw 456 people to participate.
"In order to make sure the event does not get canceled this time, we have asked Gangeung city government multiple times to check that all of our activities align with the government's Covid-19 policies," one hotel staff member said.
"We hope that this event can be a breather for all those who have been suffering from the Covid-19 pandemic."
The renewed event is already getting traction online, with its promotional post on Instagram getting over 200 likes within a few hours of the hotel posting it.
A hotel staff member in charge of the event said that 908 people have signed up for the event as of 5 p.m. Tuesday.
"I am a big fan of the show and hope that my friend and I both get to participate," said a 25-year-old surnamed Lee who signed up for the event as soon as registration opened Tuesday. "Also, if I get to go, this will be the first big event for me to participate in since Covid-19, so I am very excited."
The hotel had initially scheduled the event for Oct. 24.
Though the original event's popularity was explosive, with over 1,000 people registering for the event within four days, it was canceled because the level three social distancing guidelines that Gangneung was under at the time prohibited parties and events hosted by hotels.
The hotel decided to hold off on the event and refunded all entry fees to those who registered.
"Squid Game" is a Netflix Korea original series that has been watched by over 100 million people across the world. It tells the story of a group of cash-strapped people who play a series of childhood games under the notion that the final winner will receive prize money of 38 million dollars, while all the losers get killed.
BY PARK JIN-HO, LEE JIAN [email@example.com]