Korea Enlists Personal QR Codes and a Beach Reservation System to Prevent Spread of Coronavirus

As the Covid-19 outbreak continues, the South Korean government implemented new measures on June 10 requiring mandatory QR code scanning for entering high-risk areas to trace coronavirus cases and contain the disease.

South Korea has also introduced a reservation system for many of the most popular beaches across the country this summer to prevent the spread of Covid-19 by restricting the number of beachgoers.

South Korea requires high-risk facilities — including bars, karaoke rooms, clubs, indoor group workouts, and indoor concert venues — to install smartphone QR code entry logs for all visitors to keep a record of their personal information. People who wish to enter such facilities will need to scan their QR code from Naver’s website or app. 

With concerns about exposure of personal information and cross-contamination through the pen-and-paper system, the QR code is seen as a safer and more accurate way to assist the government in tracking the location and contacts of people who have tested positive for the virus. Personal data collected from the QR code is kept for four weeks before it is automatically deleted, according to South Korea’s Ministry of Health and Welfare.

Getting your QR code

Visitors can get a one-time QR code from Naver by tapping the icon located on the top right corner of the app. Press “My QR Code” and the QR issuance screen will appear. After consenting to provide information and authenticating a mobile number, a QR code will be generated, which visitors can show to such facilities.  

Facility managers have to install the KI-pass app to register their business name and other details. Any facility can use the electronic register after signing up through the app. Facilities and visitors that violate the administrative measure will be subject to a penalty of up to three million won and could have their business suspended.

Local governments have also recommended that other facilities with large gatherings and crowds, such as libraries, hospitals, restaurants, or churches adopt the QR code system.

Beach reservation system begins July 1

To regulate the number of people on the beach during the summer, health authorities will require beachgoers to make an online reservation providing their contact information. The reservation system will be implemented at 14 beaches in South Jeolla Province before expanding nationwide.

However, the system is voluntary and some municipalities have decided to use alternative systems. Some beaches along the eastern coast, for instance, will seek to control the number of beachgoers by handing out tickets on the spot. 

Visitors can make online reservations on a government website for a spot at the beach or by calling the local government office that has jurisdiction over the area. The online reservation requires beachgoers to select a date, time, and beach as well as enter their name, phone number, and number of people.  

While beaches in South Korea are technically open year-round to the public, local governments have set official opening dates for popular beaches between July 10 and August 30.  

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