Myeongdong Street Stalls Closing On Christmas Eve To Prevent Crowd Crush, Travellers Plan Accordingly

Myeongdong Street Stalls Closing On Christmas Eve To Prevent Crowd Crush, Travellers Plan Accordingly

Myeongdong Street Vendors To Close On Christmas Eve To Prevent Potential Crowd Disaster

If you’re travelling and happen to be in Seoul this weekend, here’s a heads-up: street vendors in the famous Myeongdong shopping district will be closed on Christmas Eve.

myeongdong close christmas

Source: @sooniri on Instagram

This is to prevent a possible crowd crush situation, such as the one that happened in Itaewon in October.

So if you were thinking of dropping by to satisfy your gyeran bbang (egg bread) or tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes) cravings, be sure to avoid doing it on 24 Dec.

Myeongdong street stalls will close on Christmas Eve & New Year’s Eve

According to The Korea Times, the Myeongdong vendors’ union confirmed that the street stalls in the popular tourist destination will not be open on Christmas Eve.

They will be partially closed on New Year’s Eve as well.

myeongdong close christmas

Source: Expedia

The reason behind this unusual decision was to prevent a potential crowd control disaster from happening.

On 29 Oct, a horrifying crowd crush claimed the lives of over 150 people during packed Halloween celebrations in Itaewon.

The recommendation to close the Myeongdong stalls came from the neighbourhood’s district office.

Speaking to The Korea Times, Lee Kang-soo, the manager of the vendors’ union, admitted that it wasn’t an easy decision to accept the recommendation.

There were also “some disagreements”, but everyone eventually agreed to put people’s safety first. They also believed it was the right thing to do “for Myeongdong’s future in the long run”.

First time in 20 years stalls will simultaneously close

The Korea Times reports that there are currently 360 street vendors that are authorised to operate in Myeongdong from 3pm to 11pm daily.

Each stall is open 15 days a month, which means that on average, there are 130 stalls running each day.

There, tourists can munch on a huge variety of Korean street food, as well as stock up on souvenirs like clothing and accessories.

Mr Lee, a street vendor of two decades, said that as far as he knows, this is the first time all the Myeongdong stalls will close simultaneously during the busiest holiday of the season.

This comes not long after the vendors had to shutter their businesses amidst a severe dip in visitors during the Covid-19 pandemic.

As such, they were looking forward to welcoming more customers during the festive period.

In the end, however, they agreed to close their stalls to prevent the possibility of a crowd crush taking place.

Instead, a group of the vendors will spend their Christmas Eve helping to control passenger traffic and prevent congestion.

Mr Lee explained that they are more than qualified for the task due to their knowledge of where, when, and how crowds tend to form in the area.

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