With South Korea’s capital area under level 2.5 social distancing measures, many small businesses are being hit hard as they have to shut after 9PM.
Restaurants cannot have people eat inside after 9 PM, and singing rooms and indoor sports facilities have to shut down regardless of the time of day for three weeks.
Speaking to a local news outlet, the minister of economy and finance Hong Nam-ki said that he is very much concerned about the domestic economy due to the strict quarantine measures.
He added that the government is trying to come up with ways to boost the economy with measures that do not require face-to-face contact.
According to the Bank of Korea, the private consumption rate was minus 4.8 percent in the first quarter of this year, when the first wave of COVID-19 hit the country.
And during the second wave of the pandemic in the third quarter, private consumption also dropped to minus 4.4 percent.
With stricter social distancing measures imposed over the country’s capital city, industry watchers say the domestic economy is likely to be hit even harder and that an economic crisis is expected in the first quarter of next year if the spread of COVID-19 is not contained.
“If more businesses allow employees to choose when to come to work, and maybe allow them to work on weekends instead of weekdays, this could help in boosting economic activities.”
Last October, when the government imposed level-one social distancing measures, the nation saw a drop in retail sales compared to the same month the previous year, and the figures compared to the previous month as well.
Bae Eun-ji, Arirang News.