People pass through Gwanghwamun Station in Seoul. (Herald DB)
Mask sales are still growing a week since the lifting of the mask mandate for public transportation, according to sales data compiled from online shopping sites Monday.
The South Korean government has been gradually easing mask-wearing rules starting with wearing masks outdoors last May and in most indoor spaces earlier this year. Most recently, last Monday, the indoor mask rule for public transportation, including subways, buses and taxis, was lifted as well, though experts still strongly advise wearing them during rush hour.
But many Koreans seem to continue wearing masks, driving up mask sales overall.
SSG.com, one of the top online shopping platforms, posted a 30% rise in mask sales on March 20-23 compared to the previous three days. During the same period, its smaller rivals, Tmon and WeMakePrice, reported 20% and 8.91% growth in mask sales, respectively.
Industry watchers say several factors -- such as the possibility of reinfection, fine dust warnings and long-held habits during the pandemic years -- may have affected people to stick to wearing masks.
In several surveys, almost 70 percent of respondents here say they will keep their masks on despite the eased mandates.
By Yu Ji-soo (email@example.com)