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Thousands of pubs, karaokes disappear amid social distancing

A pile of sign boards is seen at a dumpsite in Bucheon, Gyeonggi Province, on Wednesday, as the prolonged pandemic has forced thousands of stores to shut down. (Yonhap)
A pile of sign boards is seen at a dumpsite in Bucheon, Gyeonggi Province, on Wednesday, as the prolonged pandemic has forced thousands of stores to shut down. (Yonhap)


The number of pubs and karaoke parlors has plummeted due to lost profitability from COVID-19 and tough social distancing rules, data from the National Tax Service showed Wednesday.

The number of stores registered as pubs across the country stood at 27,840 as of the end of May, according to the tax authority’s survey on 100 key sectors of the self-employed segment.

The figure dropped 3,636 or 11.6 percent from last year.

The number of stores registered as semi-pubs -- which offer dining and face different regulations -- also declined 14.1 percent to 1,900, during the same period.

The declines seemed to be related to the toughened social distancing regulations that barred private gatherings of five or more persons at night. The 10 p.m. closing restriction also looks to have affected profitability significantly, forcing them to shut down their business.

The number of karaoke parlors also slid 5.2 percent to 1,554.

The prolonging pandemic situation has also shaved off hundreds of travel agencies, PC rooms and wedding venues, the survey showed.

Meanwhile, the online commercial sector saw a whopping 34.8 percent growth for the past one year. The number of e-commerce shops recorded 103,450 as of May.

Cafes, Korean food restaurants and fast food chains surged, too, growing by more than 10 percent each.

The annual survey shows trends in the country’s self-employed industries, reflecting major economic conditions and social atmospheres.

By Song Su-hyun (song@heraldcorp.com)
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