(From L to R) SME Minister Kwon Chil-seung, Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki and Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum hold a joint press conference at the government complex in Seoul on Friday, to announce that the government will provide 1 million won ($844) each to some 3.2 million businesses as a "quarantine subsidy" to help them overcome their losses incurred by tightened restrictions on their operations due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Yonhap)
Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said Friday the government has mobilized all possible resources to provide additional financial support to small businesses that will be affected by the new virus curbs.
Kim spoke at a joint press briefing with economy-related ministers on the government's plan to pay 1 million won ($844) each to 3.2 million small business owners following its announcement of stricter social distancing measures the previous day.
"We came up with additional support measures that will actually be felt by small business owners and self-employed people by fully mobilizing all of the disposable financial resources at this time," the prime minister said.
The measures have been devised to account for the losses that will come from a further reduction of the maximum private gathering size, he said.
Under the new curbs, which will be in effect from Saturday until Jan. 2, private gatherings will be limited to four people, while restaurants and cafes will be forced to close at 9 p.m.
The restrictions mark a sharp reversal of the government's "living with COVID-19" scheme that launched last month with the aim of beginning a return to normal but has been blamed for a recent spike in coronavirus infections and deaths.
Daily case numbers have been approaching the 8,000s, while the number of COVID-19 deaths hit an all-time high of 94 on Tuesday. (Yonhap)