N.Korea encourages non-face-to-face services: Report

North Korea is encouraging non-face-to-face services at restaurants and grocery stores, such as picking up to-go orders, as part of precautions against the new coronavirus, Pyongyang’s state media reported on Monday.

Korean Central Broadcasting Station, the North’s radio broadcaster, said the country is trying to improve customer services “to provide more convenience in accordance with the virus prevention measures in many districts including Pyongyang”, reports Yonhap News Agency.

“We are also guaranteeing convenient lifestyles to our people such as encouraging ‘order services’ in restaurants and grocery stores,” it said.

An “order service” refers to a pick-up service in which customers can request products in advance, allowing them to avoid crowds. Such services in North Korea are known to be more common in libraries.

The outlet also called on sales assistants to follow anti-virus regulations and stricter health checkups.

It also warned against the inflow of the virus through workers at ports, cargo stations and in the fishing industry and urged all employees, including those at sea, to abide by strict regulations to prevent the spread of the virus.

North Korea claims it has no cases of coronavirus infection but has taken relatively drastic and swift anti-virus measures since late January to close its border and tighten its quarantine.

Also on Monday, North’s state radio said the country has planned to begin reopening schools nationwide in phases early this month after months of delay, reports Yonhap News Agency.

Schools in North Korea were supposed to start new semesters in early April, but the vacation period has been extended repeatedly due to the coronavirus pandemic, though some colleges and high schools were allowed to open in mid-April.

“Preventive measures have been enforced in a way that elementary, middle and high schools start their semesters, and nurseries and kindergartens can begin resuming their operations in early June,” the state radio said.