The Morale, Welfare and Recreation team at U.S. Army Garrison Daegu — located near the densely populated city in South Korea — decided that today was the day to announce a new promotion: The COVID-19 Special.
Yes, that COVID-19.
The restaurant special draws its name from the coronavirus strain that has infected nearly 100,000 people globally, and resulted in more than 3,000 deaths according to a March 5 World Health Organization report.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised against all nonessential travel to South Korea, due to "widespread sustained (ongoing) transmission" of the Coronavirus. According to the World Health Organization, South Korea has the second highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases — more than 5,700 as of March 5 — outside of China.
The 50 percent discount on meals (but not alcohol) was published to the MWR's official Facebook account on Friday morning, and included tags for just about every Army unit in the area.
In response to the outbreak, U.S. Forces Korea has restricted military personnel from "attending non-essential off-installation activities and social events," which includes dining out, which may explain the decision to offer a hefty discount for restaurants on U.S. Army Garrison Daegu.
"Wow, Coronavirus is bringing us together in ways we never thought possible! 😌 We still gotta get it to go, tho. 😷" wrote one commenter on the garrison's Facebook page, while another joked "Do I get a 100% discount if I have the COVID-19?"
"Protection of the Daegu area force remains our #1 priority, and we have established precautionary and preventive measures to accomplish this priority. Further, we must maintain normal, routine activities for our community," said Jacqueline Leeker, a spokeswoman for U.S. Forces Korea. "All health and force protection measures remain in effect, and we are confident our MWR events will not distract from either, but allow our internal community to demonstrate resiliency in light of the COVID-19 outbreak in Daegu city proper."