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[Newsmaker] Department stores and big supermarkets start QR code scans as cases rise

July 30, 2021 - 15:22 By Yim Hyun-su
Supermarket chain Homeplus begins QR code scanning at all stores across the country Friday. (Yonhap)
Department stores and big supermarkets will start requiring customers to scan QR codes or submit to written entry logs to shop starting from Friday in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The measure was drawn up and confirmed by the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters on Tuesday as a way to strengthen COVID-19 prevention efforts as cases continue to rise in South Korea.

Stores that are bigger than 3,000 square meters are required to adopt a QR entry log system, while local supermarkets and traditional markets remain exempt from the new requirement.

The move takes effect in areas across the country where the current social distancing is Level 3 or above.

Level 4 social distancing rules are in place in Seoul and the surrounding areas while the rest of the country excluding 36 cities and counties are under Level 3.

Places of business including restaurants and clubs were required to scan QR codes or keep handwritten logs to help authorities track down clusters from the early stages of the pandemic last year.

But department stores and supermarkets were not subject to the same requirement for fear that it could lead to long lines or crowds gathering near the entrance, though restaurants and cafes inside the venues had been asking visitors to cooperate with the track-and-trace effort.

A series of recent outbreaks at multiple department stores, however, had sparked calls for the entry logs.