The Korea Herald


S. Korea to provide selective cash relief to small biz to cushion COVID-19 impact

By Choi Jae-hee

Published : Sept. 4, 2020 - 15:20

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Vice Finance Minister Kim Yong-beom. (Yonhap) Vice Finance Minister Kim Yong-beom. (Yonhap)

South Korea on Friday said it will implement a second round of state emergency relief funds targeted at small business operators and beleaguered families most affected by an explosive surge in COVID-19 cases.
“Discussions are underway to identify the most damaged small business sectors. (The government) plans to announce a comprehensive plan for the second round of emergency relief grants as early as next week,” Vice Finance Minister Kim Yong-beom said Friday in an interview with a KBS radio station.

Small business owners, their families and employees have recently faced greater challenges due to the unprecedentedly tight social distancing rules that slashed hours of operation at cafes, restaurants and bars in the Seoul metropolitan area. 

In response to their mounting financial burden, the government has decided to carry out a selective provision of COVID-19 cash handouts by evaluating the combined sales earned by small merchants and self-employed people, according to Kim. “In terms of timeliness as well as availability, data on small merchants’ sales is more useful than their disposable income,” he said. 

As for other social groups struggling to make ends meet amid the protracted pandemic, financial authorities will promote additional financial aid packages, Kim said, citing possibility of talks with lawmakers on the issue. 

Earlier in May, the government embarked on the first relief cash handouts worth 14.3 trillion won ($12 billion) to all households in an effort to help reinvigorate the coronavirus-battered economy and console people suffering hardships. The government offered 1 million won to households with four or more members, 800,000 won to three-person households, 600,000 won to two-person households and 400,000 won to single-person households.

By Choi Jae-hee (