BTS’ Jungkook, 3 K-Pop Idols Criticized After Visiting Seoul Bar During Second Wave of Outbreak
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to correctly report that the idols visited bars and restaurants, not clubs. The headline has also been updated from “Lockdown” to “Second Wave of Outbreak”.
Big Hit Entertainment, the label of K-pop group BTS, has apologized after one of its members was seen at a bar in Seoul last month as the country faces a new cluster of COVID-19 infections.
In a statement on Monday, the label said Jungkook visited a restaurant and bar in Itaewon on April 25, according to AsiaOne.
Earlier this month, new COVID-19 cases emerged in Itaewon where more than 1,000 people were believed to be exposed to the virus, Kyodo News reported. This came after South Korea was transitioning from strict social distancing rules to “more relaxed”.
Big Hit informed fans that Jungkook showed no symptoms and has tested negative from the virus. It also apologized for what happened.
“We have no excuse that we placed the artist’s personal life before we were able to emphasize the importance of social distancing. We bow our head in apology,” the label said. “He is also deeply regretting how he did not follow social distancing measures seriously.”
However, Jungkook wasn’t alone when he visited the bars and restaurants last month. He was reportedly accompanied by three other stars — Cha Eun-woo of Astro, Mingyu of Seventeen and Jaehyun of NCT — who all received negative results after their voluntary testing, Newsweek reported.
“No matter the reason, it was a thoughtless action for our artist Cha Eun Woo to visit the Itaewon area when the entire nation is practicing social distancing, and the artist himself is deeply reflecting on not faithfully contributing to the social distancing efforts,” Astro’s label, Fantagio, wrote in their own statement.
“We at the agency feel deeply responsible that a situation like this has arisen due to our careless management of the artist,” Pledis Entertainment, the agency that handles Seventeen, said. “We sincerely apologize for causing concern and worry to fans who send love and attention [to our artists].”
“Jaehyun is deeply reflecting on the fact that he was not careful during the period of social distancing when everyone should be refraining from everyday gatherings,” NCT’s label, SM Entertainment, said. “We also deeply apologize for failing to guide and manage our artist to ensure that he carefully follow social distancing protocols in his personal time as well.”
Although the four idols did not break any laws, they were criticized for not practicing social distancing, according to Manila Bulletin.
On April 24, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) announced that “COVID-19 outbreak is still ongoing even though the number of new confirmed cases has been small lately.”
“Nightlife entertainment venues are also recommended to refrain from operating as much as possible. Such venues that remain operating must comply with infection prevention/control measures including checking people for fever or respiratory symptoms and disinfecting/ventilating thoroughly,” the KCDC added.
It also suggested that people “refrain from visiting any enclosed space with poor ventilation or any place that are frequented by a lot of people.”
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