[WORD_ON_THE_WEB] 'The mask stays on until it is over'

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[WORD_ON_THE_WEB] 'The mask stays on until it is over'

The outdoors mask mandate was lifted on May 2, 566 days after it first went into effect. However, some restrictions remain.
Citizens have to wear masks at gatherings, performances, or sports games where 50 or more people are present. If the mandate is violated, there is a fine of up to 100,000 won ($78.90).
Also, it is advised that people keep their masks on at outdoor multiuse facilities for less than 50 people and at reunions or club meetings with more than 50 members.
Despite the lifted mandate, there are still many masked citizens on the streets.
According to netizens, people say that “the changed policy still feels awkward, and putting a mask back on when going indoors, such as to use public transportation, feels very inconvenient.”
While the outdoor mask mandate is no more, it seems like there will be many people wearing masks outsides for some time to come.
“I went out to exercise, and I felt awkward because everybody else was wearing masks.”
“People don’t feel comfortable taking them off yet. By next week, there’ll be more people without masks outdoors than with them.”
“No one is without their masks on the streets. It feels uncomfortable taking it off.”
“While it’s a welcome change, it still feels a little premature as there are too many new Covid cases. I’m sure the majority of Korean people feel the same. Even if we take into account that it was the first day of the changed policy taking effect, there was no one without their masks in the morning commute hours.”
“If I get infected, the loss will be all on me. I won’t be able to work. The pandemic is not over yet, and the mask stays on until it is over.”
“The awkward policies make me sigh.”
“This is so confusing. They should just lift the mandate altogether.”

BY LEE SI-YEOUNG, YOO JI-WOO [yoo.jiwoo@joongang.co.kr]
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