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Seoul casinos ordered closed as rising COVID cases force renewed restrictions

All casinos in the South Korean capital city of Seoul will close for at least the next two weeks amid tightening citywide restrictions aimed at curbing the latest increase in new COVID-19 infections.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) reported 271 new cases of coronavirus on Sunday, including 255 local cases – the first time in a week that daily case numbers have fallen below 300 amid a potential new wave. Of those, 109 were in Seoul, 74 in Gyeonggi Province and 23 in Incheon, pushing Korea’s case numbers since the start of the year above 31,000.

In response, the Seoul Metropolitan Government has from Tuesday raised the region’s social distancing level to Level 2 with new restrictions requiring the suspension of operations at the city’s four foreigner-only casinos. They include Grand Korea Leisure’s Seven Luck casinos at Gangnam COEX and Gangbuk Millenium Seoul Hilton, plus Paradise Co’s Paradise Walkerhill and Paradise City in Incheon.

GKL posted a notice late Monday confirming it would suspend operations for at least the next two weeks “in accordance with the second stage of social distancing in the metropolitan area.” The closure period was to begin from midnight on Monday and run until 9am on Tuesday 8 December.

Under Level 2 restrictions, small businesses are limited to a maximum 100 people on site at any one time with public facilities limited to 30 people and sporting events to 10% of normal capacity.

Schools and kindergartens are also subject to an attendance cap of one-third capacity, while nightclubs and entertainment venues must close. Restaurants are allowed to operate until 9pm after which time only takeaway and delivery services can be made available.

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