A South Korean court suspended the implementation of the government’s vaccine pass programme at department and discount stores on Friday, as well as the requirement for minors aged 12 to 18 at all facilities.
According to Yonhap News Agency, the Seoul Administrative Court’s decision applies only to facilities and people in the capital city, pending the outcome of a main lawsuit filed last month by a total of 1,023 people to repeal the vaccine pass enforcement.
The plaintiffs filed the suit, claiming that the programme discriminates against unvaccinated individuals.
The vaccine pass programme, which has been in place since November, requires people to show proof of Covid-19 vaccination or negative test results when entering restaurants, cafes, and other multipurpose facilities.
The government expanded the programme to include department stores and large discount stores, and it was scheduled to go into effect for minors in March.
Vaccine pass requirements will no longer be enforced at discount and department stores in Seoul measuring 3,000 square metres or larger, according to a court decision issued on Friday.
Minors between the ages of 12 and 18 will not be required to present a vaccine pass in order to use any multiuse facilities in the capital.
Vaccine pass enforcement, on the other hand, will continue to be effective in cafes, restaurants, movie theatres, computer rooms, and sports arenas.
The suspensions will be in effect until 30 days after the upcoming ruling in the main lawsuit in the case.
“The risk of infection is high at restaurants and cafes where mask-wearing is difficult, but the risk is relatively low at stores, marts and department stores,” the court said, calling vaccine pass enforcement at department discount stores an “excessive restriction”.
The court also stated that enforcing the programme on minors is hardly reasonable because there have been no Covid-19 deaths among people aged 12-18, and the risk of becoming fatally ill among them is extremely low.
Unvaccinated people have been outraged by the vaccine pass programme, which has recently expanded to discount and department stores.
They claim the programme violates their basic needs and forces them to be vaccinated.
In a separate lawsuit filed earlier this month, the court also suspended the program’s enforcement at cram schools and other private education facilities for young students.