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No beer, no food and less chatting. The new normal for baseball fans in South Korea

South Korea has resumed its pro baseball league with caution after weeks of delay. The nation has gone through several waves of new Covid-19 cases, and new rules have been established among players and audience in this sports-starved season.

Posted: Jul 27, 2020 10:10 PM
Updated: Jul 27, 2020 10:10 PM

South Korean baseball fans are back.

Ten percent of stadiums are now allowed to be filled, with spectators scattered throughout the stands and a myriad of restrictions to try and prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Sunday's game between home team Doosan Bears and LG Twins in the south of Seoul saw less than 2,500 fans allowed to watch live, others were able to watch a live stream of the game online.

The precious tickets sold out online in less than an hour and a half, according to a Doosan Bears official, showing the massive appetite for baseball in this country is undiminished.

To enter the stadium, fans now have a temperature check and have to register their attendance at the stadium entrance through an increasingly widely used QR code system, which saves your personal information for four weeks before it is automatically deleted. This allows officials to contact trace far quicker should an outbreak occur.

A squirt of hand sanitizer and you're allowed into the stadium.

READ: Meet 'Spot' and 'Pepper' -- Baseball's robot fans

'It's quite sad'

Food and alcohol is prohibited in the stands, masks are obligatory and fans are asked to minimize their chanting, a Korean baseball staple, for fear of saliva droplets.

Baseball is by far the most popular sport in South Korea and the games are only partly about what's happening on the pitch itself. Daniel Kim, a Korean baseball commentator for ESPN says: "There's always a competition between the fans as well. There's a cheering section for the home team and the visiting team and they go back and forth and that in itself is a competition."

Eom Ho-yong says he has been watching baseball since 1982 and has brought his 11-year-old son with him to watch this match.

He says he is not worried about exposure as they are washing hands, wearing masks and social distancing from others, but he admits not being able to chant too much is a challenge.

"To create the Korean baseball atmosphere, everyone needs to come together, it's like a rock concert. Since we can't do that, it's quite sad," he said.

Spectators still aren't permitted in cities like Gwangju and Daejeon due to recent clusters in those areas.

There is no doubt the stadium is quieter, the cheering less overwhelming, but the very fact fans are here is a big step for South Korea, a symbolic nod to the way the country has handled the pandemic. It's not quite the same, but what is these days?

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 293542

Reported Deaths: 6638
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19560229
Hinds18674385
Harrison16512276
Rankin12595262
Jackson12451217
Lee9663160
Madison9400195
Jones7891145
Forrest7140136
Lauderdale6784225
Lowndes6008137
Lamar584480
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Washington5159128
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Panola426892
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Warren4114113
Pontotoc407368
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Monroe3980126
Union392873
Neshoba3767166
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Tate300874
Pike298393
Scott292567
Alcorn290360
Itawamba288871
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Tippah275665
Copiah274557
Coahoma272766
Simpson271778
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Wayne251340
Marion250778
Covington247878
Grenada245876
Adams233277
George230645
Newton224751
Winston220275
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Tishomingo211765
Attala206269
Chickasaw200650
Holmes181670
Clay178149
Stone171429
Tallahatchie169839
Clarke168671
Calhoun156428
Smith151831
Yalobusha142936
Greene126833
Walthall123540
Noxubee122729
Perry121434
Montgomery121237
Lawrence119321
Carroll117623
Amite110832
Webster109929
Jefferson Davis100531
Tunica98623
Claiborne97729
Benton93124
Humphreys91626
Kemper89522
Quitman77014
Franklin75519
Choctaw69516
Wilkinson62226
Jefferson61427
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 491110

Reported Deaths: 9831
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson706291356
Mobile35894721
Madison32255442
Tuscaloosa23996409
Montgomery22462494
Shelby21820215
Baldwin19670274
Lee14900150
Morgan13599249
Calhoun13175285
Etowah13143319
Marshall11226206
Houston10048259
Elmore9337183
Limestone9335134
Cullman8869179
St. Clair8783220
Lauderdale8581210
DeKalb8429174
Talladega7481163
Walker6504251
Jackson6477102
Autauga620389
Blount6086125
Colbert5978118
Coffee5230102
Dale4621106
Russell401831
Franklin397876
Covington3956106
Chilton384298
Escambia377172
Tallapoosa3572141
Clarke342949
Dallas3397141
Chambers3392108
Pike293071
Lawrence281384
Marion280894
Winston246166
Bibb244260
Geneva238670
Marengo233354
Pickens223954
Barbour209951
Hale208868
Fayette199756
Butler195165
Henry182041
Cherokee176438
Monroe165938
Randolph163140
Washington156634
Crenshaw143554
Clay143354
Macon140943
Cleburne136839
Lamar131732
Lowndes130648
Wilcox120825
Bullock116336
Conecuh106523
Perry105327
Sumter98431
Coosa87823
Greene87032
Choctaw54823
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