This year, which was difficult because of the COVID-19, is already coming to its end. Recently, at Halloween, some people gathered in the streets such as in ‘Itaewon’ and ‘Hongdae’ without following the quarantine guidelines and it caused many people to frown upon them. On November 7, as the quarantine guidelines have been changed to the first stage of social distancing, we wanted to to find out how people and companies around us are preparing and planning for enjoying Christmas, one of the year-end events. -Ed.
At the outset of the COVID-19, three stages of social distancing were introduced, but it has recently been refined into five stages. Many people are aware of the fact, but they don’t know specifically what has changed. According to the ministry of health and welfare, the three stages were quarantine, intermediate, and lockdown. After the reorganization, the second phase (intermediate) was divided into three stages; Quarantine in dangerous areas, control of the movement in dangerous areas, and controlling movement across the country. In addition, general meetings and events can be held up to stage 1.5 (Quarantine in dangerous areas), but large scale meetings should be reported to local governments along with quarantine management plans. In stage 2, meetings of more than 100 people will be banned.
In the past, many people used to gather, for Christmas, in various famous places and bars, or stay at home and exchange gifts with their families and friends. However, the COVID-19 is currently limiting many group activities. Currently most regions are able to hold general meetings and events in the first stage of the new social distancing regulations. Large-scale events like last Halloween, however, are not expected to take place because of various problems such as potential super spreaders.
To find out how schoolmates celebrate year-end under these circumstances CBT reporters conducted a survey to find out what plans were trending. We asked all participants whether they have any celebrations planed, and if they were planning to celebrate indoors or outdoors. The survey was conducted, over a two day period, through SNS including the “Everytime” application, and 60 people responded in total. The result is that 32 people (53.3%) have plans, while 28 people (46.7%) has no plans yet. At the same time, 11 people (34.4%) will be celebrating at home, and 21 people (65.6%) outdoors.
After carefully analyzing the survey, the CBT reporter interviewed classmates to get more detailed feedback. First of all, the CBT reporter interviewed Choi Yeon-woo (College of Mechanical Engineering). “I think it is too much to plan for an outdoor year-and meeting because the COVID-19 has not subsided. So I decided to have an online drinking party through video call with four of my high school friends. Instead of visiting an existing bar or playing outdoor games, we will be creating our own rules through online games such as “Kartrider”, “Starcraft”, “Yut-nori” etc. I think we’ll be able to experience a different kind of fun. For example, after the game, the loser and winner of the game will drink a glass of soju. I’m sure that many of my classmates would like to have outdoor activities and meetings, and I hope the COVID-19 will be over as soon as possible.” He said.
In addition, Kim Ki-hoon (College of business) said “It’s early November, so I haven’t thought about the year-year plan yet. If I meet people at the end of the year, I think outdoor activities will be as difficult as before, so maybe I will spend time with my family at home. Still, COVID-19 is not over yet, so I think we should be careful.” The two classmates had different plans, but their opinions on the end of the COVID-19 were the same.
Companies have also changed the direction of events and marketing for the end of the year and Christmas. “SubQ”, a brand of “Samyang” in the food industry, has uploaded six free recipes for Christmas cakes which were created by its confectionary chief on their website. The cake recipes are based on designs that can be posted on social media while adapting to the home party trend which can be enjoyed with a small number of people at home. A “SubQ” official said, “We hope these Christmas cake recipes and promotion posters will be a small boost to self-employed bakeries and workers suffering from COVID-19,” showing an emphasis on the regional economy.
In addition, Black Friday is traditionally the biggest sale of the year. Black Friday is a commercial U.S. holiday celebrated on the day after Thanksgiving, and millions of people descend upon stores during that period. Due to the COVID-19, however, the period will be extended until before Christmas, so shoppers don’t all gather at one time. According to data from the Ministry of trade, industry and energy, major retail chains in the United States have announced closing stores during the period since Wal Mart announced the closing of stores on Thanksgiving Day in July.
In this situation, the company tried to prevent consumers to gather at one time while encouraging consumption through online shopping for corporate sales. “Amazon”, a foreign company, encouraged online shopping by selling Black Friday price guarantees for 2 days in time for the large-scale discount event “Prime Day” held on October 13 to 14. In Korea, Lotte Shopping held sales of about 2 trillion won from October 23 to November 1 in their “Lotte On World” event, and announced that sales increased 63% from last year. Other online shopping malls, such as “Coupang”, “11th Street” etc are also offering similar sale events.
Currently, On November 12, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in Korea is 27,942, with about 100~200 people confirmed daily. Many people are confused by the changes of social distancing. At the same time, starting on November 13, if you don’t wear a mask properly on public transportation and in multi-use facilities, you will be fined 100,000 won. This year, everybody faced multiple challenges living their daily lives. Why don’t we strive to have a healthy and enjoyable end of the year and Christmas while, at the same time adhering to social distancing and quarantine guidelines?