People wearing face masks walk along the Cheonggye stream in Seoul, on September 11, 2020.
People wearing face masks walk along the Cheonggye stream in Seoul, on September 11, 2020. Jung Yeon-je/AFP/Getty Images

South Korea will ease the strict social distancing measures imposed in the greater Seoul Metropolitan area, returning to a looser regime, the South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said on Sunday.

The strict measures have been in place since August 30 and were due to expire this Sunday.

The government has decided to adjust the measures to level two for two weeks until September 27. The new regime will see franchise cafes and ice cream shops able to provide sit-in services again. Restaurants and bakeries will no longer need to close between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m as long as they maintain precautionary measures such as keeping the log books and ensuring enough distance between tables, Health Minister Park Neung-hoo said in a briefing on Sunday.

Food and snack services and the entry of minors will continue to be banned at Internet cafes. 

Under the level-two restrictions, indoor gatherings are limited to 50 people and outdoor gatherings to 100 people, Park said. High-risk facilities such as bars, clubs, singing rooms and door-to-door sales services will be unable to operate, according to the Health Minister.

South Korea reported 121 new coronavirus cases from Saturday, of which 99 are local cases, according to a statement by the South Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday.

South Korea currently has 22,176 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 358 deaths from the virus.