Safe distances have been gradually relaxed and, as of early April, major downtown areas of Seoul nightlife have been crowded with people coming out to enjoy the nightlife on a Friday night.
Around 8 pm that day, the streets of downtown Seoul, including Gangnam, Itaewon, and Hongdae, were revived to such an extent that it was difficult to find any signs of concern about the corona pandemic.
In front of a restaurant near Gangnam Station, three co-workers from the same company were chatting happily while waiting in a long line to enter the restaurant.
“I came here to have dinner and enjoy a bit of Seoul nightlife with my co-workers,” said a 27-year-old office worker, Park. She added, “Personally, I don’t really care about corona. It doesn’t seem like a very serious disease.”
At the same time, the intersection in front of Itaewon Station in Yongsan-gu was also crowded. A woman in her late 20s who was waiting for a friend she hadn’t seen for a long time because of the coronavirus, said, “Actually, I think I’m just fed up worrying about the coronavirus. I’m just happy to see my friend after a long time.”
A foreigner in his 20s said, “Seoul nightlife is fun again, and I think it doesn’t make much of a difference to relax an hour or two more.”
Busking started again on the streets of Hongdae in Mapo-gu. It is the first time in 16 months, when the use of outdoor concert venues was banned to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Around 25 people surrounded a particular busking performance at 6:30 pm. It was a familiar scene that looked no different from ‘pre-corona’ days, upon seeing performers joking around and the audience taking videos.
Kim Tae-hoon, a university student who was watching busking performances with his friend, smiled, saying, “It was so nice to see buskers after over a year.”
Vocal trainer Lee Hee-won, who was performing, smiled broadly, saying, “During the last corona wave, I have tried to sustain myself by doing everything, such as taking on a part-time job at a pizza restaurant or doing deliveries.
As the weather improves, social distancing eases, and as more and more citizens enjoy partaking in Seoul nightlife and its popular districts, police reports are also on the rise.
A police officer belonging to a district unit in charge of an area where Seoul nightlife is concentrated said, “These days, public drinking has become so commonplace in these nightlife districts once again that the number of reports of public drunkenness continues to drop.”