BTS‘s “Permission to Dance” and ENHYPEN‘s “Drunk-Dazed” are undeniably great songs to work out to, but that’s no longer possible for people living in Seoul, South Korea. Here’s why the tracks—and more just like them—are now banned in Seoul gyms.
While it may sound surprising, it’s all down to the pandemic. While COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) cases are steadily dropping in many countries around the world, South Korea is now facing a new wave much worse than before. Over the past week, COVID-19 cases in the country have reached record highs, with over 1,500 new cases per day. As such, the government is implementing new measures to curb the spread.
And, surprisingly, those measures extend to music too. As of this week, health officials are asking gyms in Seoul and surrounding regions to implement a new rule in order to reduce COVID-19 permissions: no more playing songs with a tempo higher than 120 beats per minute.
This includes tracks like BTS’s “Permission to Dance,”
BLACKPINK‘s “How You Like That,”
Weeekly‘s “After School,”
and hundreds more songs K-Pop fan gym-goers love to work out to. Alongside restrictions of music, treadmills will also be limited to a speed of 6km/h maximum. In conjunction, it’s believed that these measures will stop people at the gym from breathing too fast or splashing sweat on others, preventing virus spores from spreading.
Of course, these new rules aren’t without their problems. Seoul gym owner Kang Hyun Ku told Reuters, “My biggest question is whether playing classical music or BTS songs has proven to have any impact on spreading the virus.” Kang went on to say that many gym users also bring their own headphones and music devices, leaving owners with no control over their workout speed.
So you don’t get COVID-19 if you walk slower than 6 km per hour? And who on earth checks the bpm of the songs when you work out? I don’t understand what COVID-19 has to do with my choice of music.
— Politician Kim Yong Tae
However, the city’s health officials insist they did take a broad range of opinions into account before making the decision to ban songs over 120 beats per minute. President Moon Jae In, meanwhile, has apologized to citizens and asked them to remain patient during this difficult time.
In the meantime, until the COVID-19 situation subsides, workout enthusiasts may have to temporarily adjust their gym playlists. Thankfully, some of this year’s most popular tracks like BTS’s “Butter,” BLACKPINK Rosé‘s “On the Ground,” NCT‘s “Hot Sauce,” and IU‘s “Lilac” are all safe according to the restriction.