The self-employed in South Korea announced that they will close their operations starting from Jan. 4 amid the growing financial burden on their shoulders as the government tightened social distancing rules following the worsening COVID-19 situation.
“A meeting will be held in the afternoon on Jan. 4 to decide when to collectively close businesses and how long it will be in place,” said a group of small business owners affected by the COVID-19 pandemic on Friday. The organization consists of six groups of small business and factory owners and self-employed workers including the Korea Foodservice Industry Association. Members of the group held a meeting for around an hour from 2 p.m. on Christmas Eve to share results of a vote on collective operational suspension by organization.
According to the association, 43,710 out of 51,490 businesses, or 85 percent in the Korea Foodservice Industry Association, are supportive of the proposal while 37.4 percent of those in favor want a four-day closure. Also, it is supported by more than 90 percent of members in three organizations for karaoke bars (99.9 percent), karaoke rooms (98.2 percent) and entertainment food service providers (91 percent).
The rest two organizations in the group of small business owners affected by the COVID-19 pandemic – associations for snack bars and internet cafés – will have their vote completed next Thursday. “We started voting on Monday” said an insider of the group of snack bars. “Many of our members seem supportive of a collective suspension.”
“We will stay in observance of law while in a temporary closure,” said Min Sang-heon, the head of the association of small business owners affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. “If the government does not provide us with any satisfying compensation for loss, we will defy the government across the nation even in violation of quarantine rules on size of gatherings and time limit on operation.”