Resort island of Jeju to start discussion on restricting operation of 'no-kids' zones

By Park Sae-jin Posted : February 8, 2023, 10:23 Updated : February 8, 2023, 10:23

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SEOUL -- The southern resort island of Jeju will start a public debate over whether "no-kids" zones should be allowed on the island visited by more than 10 million people annually. The island has some dozens of cafes and restaurants that prohibit the access of children aged 13 years and younger to provide a comforting and relaxing environment for adults.
No-kids zones first appeared in South Korea about a decade ago after a series of online complaints about parents not tending to their noisy and rude children in public places. Continuous complaints sparked an online controversy over whether it is okay for a store owner to only allow access to adults. Many young people in their 20s and 30s agreed with the idea of no-kids zones while older people claimed that children should equally be given access to cafes and restaurants, explaining that it is natural for children to be noisy and cause minor problems, as such happenings are part of kids growing up.
There are more than 500 no-kids zones in South Korea, according to a user-generated map on Google Maps. Parents with young kids use the online map to see if stores they wish to visit allow access to young children while younger people look for shops where they can drink and chat in peace. The map is updated and managed by ordinary users. Jeju, with scores of unique cafes and restaurants, has the highest concentration of no-kids cafes and restaurants, according to the map.
Jeju Provincial Council member Song Chang-kwon from the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea said that a public debate will take place on February 15 prior to the enactment of an ordinance designed to ban no-kids zones in the resort island. In 2017, the National Human Rights Commission of Korea recommended that the country should ban No-kids zones as they violate the children's rights not to be discriminated against.
"As No-kids zone stores are subjected to register or receive permission from the local government to operate, it is hard to exactly know how many of them are being operated in Jeju. Because the Jeju area is a tourist spot loved by everyone, no child should be hurt or discriminated," Song said in a statement on February 7. 
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