After a week-long trial period, the country officially launched its vaccine pass system on Monday, requiring all visitors to cafes and restaurants to present a certificate proving they have completed their vaccination against the vaccine. COVID-19 or they have tested negative.
Businesses can be fined 1.5 million won (US $ 1,270) or suspended from operations for 10 days if they fail to adhere to the vaccine pass system. Individual violators can face a fine of 100,000 won every time they violate the system.
The system, however, was not implemented successfully on day one.
Many people have had difficulty accessing the government’s digital vaccine authentication system or QR code authentications through other popular services, such as Naver, Kakao Talk, and Toss Bank, at lunchtime.
Recognizing these technical issues, health officials said Monday’s vaccine pass program would void and apologized for the inconvenience.
In some cafes and restaurants in the afternoon, employees only asked customers to register their entries by phone or guestbook without checking their immunization status due to the heavy workload during the lunch hour .
“Most clients (voluntarily) show their vaccination card before entering, but to do the job well I have to hire another part-time employee, whose salary is not paid by the government,” owner of ‘a Korean barbecue restaurant. in south Seoul, nicknamed Min, said.
In a popular online community of small business owners, some complained about the financial burden associated with the expense of acquiring necessary system equipment, such as cell phones and tablet PCs, and possible fines. ‘they have to pay.
Some people, especially the elderly, could not even have lunch because they did not have a vaccination card.
At around 11:30 a.m., two elderly people went to a rice soup restaurant in western Seoul but could not enter the facility because they did not have a vaccination certificate. One of them only had an older generation cell phone, which does not have an online vaccination certificate system, and the other left his phone at home.
The government is currently offering a vaccine QR certificate on its COOV smartphone app, which can be linked to other popular services, such as Naver and Kakao Talk, which are not available on multifunction phones. Those who cannot use COOV must bring paper vaccination certificates to enter cafes and restaurants.
As of Monday afternoon, more than 356,000 people had signed a petition demanding the removal of the vaccine pass system, calling the policy a “violation of basic human rights.”
“I tried not to catch COVID-19 by wearing face masks, but I guess I need to get the vaccine now because even my daily activities are restricted (as part of the system),” said one citizen, nicknamed His. His has not yet been vaccinated due to an underlying skin disease. (Yonhap)