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S. Koreans begin traveling for Chuseok holiday Updated: 2021-09-17 17:03:05 KST

People in South Korea are starting to make their way to their hometowns to visit parents and relatives ahead of the traditional Chuseok holiday.
Choi Min-jung is standing by at the Seoul Tollgate with updates on the traffic and much more.
Min-jung, how's the traffic as of now?

Hi Ji-yeon. Behind me are cars heading out of the capital ahead of the five-day Chuseok holiday.
The traffic is currently building up and is approaching Friday’s peak.
The congestion is expected to ease from 9 P.M.
For this year's Chuseok, around 32 million people are expected to travel across the nation to visit their families.
The average number of people traveling each day is estimated to be 16-percent lower than in 2019 before the start of the pandemic.
But numbers are showing that there's a 3.5-percent jump compared to Chuseok last year.
The highways are expected to be congested, as most people will be using their own cars rather than public transport.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport predicts that congestion will be at its worst on Monday morning, the day before Chuseok, and on the afternoon of Chuseok itself.
It's estimated to take around 5 hours from Seoul to Busan.

What should people know if they're planning to go to a highway rest stop. There are stricter measures in place there due to the pandemic. But also, tell us about the rules for family gatherings.

Ji-yeon, just like Chuseok last year, there are tough anti-virus measures in place at highway rest areas.
From today until next Wednesday, travelers can't dine at the rest areas, but they can buy food-to-go.
Usually toll charges are waived during the holiday, but again, this will not be the case for this year.
But social distancing measures will be temporarily eased for all parts of the country.
Starting today for a week, families can gather in groups of up to 8 people, as long as four are fully vaccinated.
Earlier, I spoke with one person heading to see his family. Take a listen.

"Last year I couldn't even think about going to see my family because of the pandemic. I got vaccinated, so I decided to go this time."

Up to four family members are allowed to gather if they aren't fully inoculated.
But people must remember that the rules are eased only when you're gathering at home.
That's all I have for now.
Back to you, Ji-yeon.
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