40% self-employed S.Koreans mull biz closure amid pandemic

Seoul, Jan 16 (IANS) Forty per cent self-employed people in South Korea are considering closing their businesses due to sluggish sales amid the long-enforced strict social distancing rules due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a survey revealed on Sunday.

According to the survey of 500 people operating restaurants, retail and other service businesses by the Federation of Korean Industries (FKI), a major business lobby group, 40.8 per cent said that they are considering discontinuing their operations, reports Yonhap News Agency.

Of them, 28.2 per cent cited declining sales and profits as a major reason.

Difficulty in securing funds and increasing burdens from loans came next with 17.8 per cent, the survey showed.

Small merchants and self-employed people have been hard hit by the protracted social distancing rules and curbs on business operation hours put in place to fight the pandemic.

The government plans to maintain a 9 p.m. curfew on restaurants and cafes, while raising the limit on the size of private gatherings to six from the current four from Monday through February 6.

Of those surveyed, 30.7 per cent voiced concerns over subdued consumer sentiment as the pandemic continues to affect their spending.

Tight social distancing rules and restricted store operations came next with 22.9 per cent.



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