(Seoul city government)
The Seoul city government is offering zero-interest loans to small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Under the program launched Monday, a total of 300 billion won ($255 million) will be offered at a 0.03-0.53 percent interest rate to businesses that were forced to close or restrict services under the city's social distancing rules, the local government said.
These businesses include karaoke rooms, indoor gyms, private academies, internet cafes, restaurants and large coffee shops.
"Social distancing was a necessary step to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and lives of our citizens, but it also increased the difficulties of 660,000 small businesses in Seoul," Seo Seong-man, a city government official overseeing the program, said.
"The Seoul city government has come up with programs to help these small businesses, which are the backbone of our city's economy, in practical ways," he said.
Each business can apply for a loan of up to 100 million won using online and mobile platforms, after which they will undergo a streamlined evaluation, the city government said. (Yonhap)