Family relations are already getting tense ahead of Chuseok due to the complicated rules that govern how many vaccinated and unvaccinated people can gather in lockdown.

Most older people have already been vaccinated and expected to see their grown children, but many of those are not yet vaccinated and plead fear of infection to get out of their filial obligations.

The rules for the holiday say that up to eight people can gather if four of them have been vaccinated, but in reality that can be a logistical nightmare for larger families, who have to decide who is in and who is out.

As of last week, 85.4 percent of people over 60 were fully vaccinated. But the vaccination rate among people in their 30s is a paltry 28.3 percent and among those in their 40s 23 percent, so many young people have a perfect excuse not to travel over the congested period. 

Last year, most parents magnanimously told their children to stay home, but after almost two years of the coronavirus pandemic many parents miss seeing their children.

One 35-year-old who lives in Yongsan, Seoul said, “My parents asked me to stop by just for a while, but I only had my first vaccine shot and I’m also worried for my children, so I decided not to visit my hometown. I could also pass on the virus too, so I’m thinking about visiting my parents alone after I receive my second shot.”

Ae 25-year-old university student in Seoul said, “I used my lack of vaccination as an excuse not to visit my parents, because they’ll only ask me how my job search is going.”

Choi Hang-sup at Kookmin University said, “The pandemic has masked conflicts in family over visiting parents during Chuseok, but now rising vaccination rates are bringing them to surface again. We really need to think about how we can improve family ties.” 

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