South Korea will start doling out the third round of disaster relief funds to small businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said Monday.
Some 2.76 million people are set to receive up to 3 million won ($2,731), depending on the size and nature of the business.
The Ministry of SMEs and Startups has sent out text messages to 2.76 business owners, starting 8 a.m., offering guidelines on the subsidy application and timeline.
The beneficiary pool comprises some 116,000 businesses that were forced to shut down during social distancing, 762,000 that faced operating restrictions, and 1.88 million others that reeled under reduced sales during the period.
At least 260,000 more people are set to benefit compared to the last batch of 2.5 million beneficiaries, reflecting the extensive damage done due to distancing and business restrictions imposed throughout December and January, while the country continued to see its third wave of coronavirus infections.
Some 70,000 new businesses that opened during late last year were also included in this round.
“The simplified process only requires the business registration number and a simple personal verification, with no additional documents,” the ministry said.
Those who make the application within Monday morning will receive the cash on the day, while those who make it by midnight will receive the money the next morning, officials added.
An exception will be made, however, for those that have breached government quarantine rules. Even if they do receive the subsidy by an administrative error, the amount will be redeemed later.
In order to prevent the excessive burden on the online system, those whose business registration number ends in an odd number were given the first turn on Monday, while those with an even number are to follow suit on Tuesday. From Wednesday, all businesses can apply.
Those who have not received a text message may double-check their eligibility directly on the website or make inquiries at the exclusive call center (1522-3500).
By Bae Hyun-jung (firstname.lastname@example.org