As the administrative order for mandatory mask-wearing was implemented as of August 24, 2020, the number of inquiries about detailed guidelines has drastically increased.
As the Seoul Metropolitan Government acknowledges the close relationship between the measure for mandatory mask-wearing and citizens' daily lives, the SMG is distributing detailed guidelines for immediate application in every aspect of citizens’ everyday lives. The detailed guidelines are comprised of five parts: ▴ the necessity of mandatory mask-wearing, ▴ targets of mandatory mask-wearing, ▴ spatial range of mandatory mask-wearing, ▴ exemptions from mandatory mask-wearing, and ▴ acknowledged types of mask-wearing.
The spatial range of mandatory mask-wearing and exemptions from mandatory mask-wearing should be taken notice of, as these parts contain the detailed criteria about mask-wearing of which citizens want clarification. The spatial range of mandatory mask-wearing specifies that one must wear a mask in every indoor space and ▴ when coming into contact with people at a gathering, meeting, event, or public assembly or ▴ when there is a risk of coming into contact with people as it is difficult to maintain a distance of 2 meters from others outdoors.
Exemptions from mandatory mask-wearing apply to ① when one is in an ordinary, private living space, ② when eating, and ③ when there is an inevitable reason, regardless of being indoors or outdoors.
As the guidelines are being applied for the first time in the country, the SMG expects there will be some shortcomings in the actual application of the guidelines. Thus, the opinions of citizens will actively be accepted to continue improving the guidelines.
■ Necessity of Mandatory Mask-Wearing
○ Most Effective Way to Protect Oneself and One’s Neighbors
- Risk of being infected decreases by 85% when wearing a mask (source: international academic journal THE LANCET, 2020)
※ 5 times higher possibility of being infected when not wearing a mask
■ Targets of Mandatory Mask-Wearing: All residents and visitors throughout Seoul
○ “Residents of Seoul” refers to individuals who are registered and actually living in an administrative district of Seoul.
○ “Visitors of Seoul” refers to individuals who are registered and actually living in an administrative district outside of Seoul but are currently in Seoul for any purpose including commuting, sales, and travel.
■ Spatial Range of Mandatory Mask-Wearing: Indoor and outdoor spaces located in an administrative district of Seoul
○ (Definition of “indoor space”) Everyone must wear a mask in all structures that are separated from the outdoors in all directions, such as means of transportation including buses, subway trains, ships, airplanes, and other vehicles, as well as buildings.
○ (Definition of “outdoor space”) Everyone must wear a mask in each case listed below.
- When coming into contact with people at a gathering, meeting, event (performance), or public assembly
- When there is a risk of coming into contact with any person other than those with which one lives (family members) because it is hard to keep a distance of 2 meters
■ Exemptions from Mandatory Mask-Wearing: In ordinary private life and inevitable cases, such as eating
➊ When in an ordinary, private living space
- When in a dwelling (at home)
- When alone in a separate space or with people with which one lives (family members)
※ Everyone must wear a mask when anyone other than those living together visits a separate space
➋ When eating ※ One must wear a mask before and after eating, as well as when conversing
- When having a meal or snack
- When having any consumable, such as alcohol, cigarettes, tea, and coffee
➌ Other inevitable cases ※ When it comes to ②-⑤, one must wear a mask before and after activities
① When wearing a mask can lead to dyspnea or deterioration of health
② When one must take off the mask for medical or sanitary activities
③ When necessary for the smooth execution of public business
④ When one must take off the mask for one’s job or earning money
⑤ When it is difficult to wear a mask due to the characteristics of the place
※ One must wear a mask if one has a fever or respiratory symptoms, even when the exemptions from mandatory mask-wearing is applicable
■ Acknowledged Types of Mask-Wearing
○ Types of masks
- All types of masks, including sanitary, surgical, droplet-proof and cotton masks, are permitted
- However, wearing the “quasi-drugs” masks authorized by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety is strongly recommended
○ How to wear a mask
- Wear a mask that matches the size of your face and make sure to cover both your nose and mouth
※ Failure to cover your nose and mouth will be considered as failure to wear a mask