SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, April 24, 2020 – The Seoul Metropolitan Government plans to provide KRW 700,000 (USD 570) in cash per month up to for two months for the self-employed and small businesses hit hard by the COVID-19. This is the first time in the country to provide the self-employed or small businesses with support in cash instead of vouchers or financial support.
Approximately 410,000 self-employed and small businesses registered in Seoul with less than KRW 200 million of annual sales for 2019 (excluding some businesses such as bars, clubs, or gambling places) are eligible for the support plan. 72 percent of all small businesses in Seoul (about 570,000 excluding 100,000 from restricted businesses) are expected to be benefited.
At a regular COVID-19 briefing session taking place on April 24, Seoul Mayor Park Won-Soon said, “Seoul will be proactively responding to the issue of struggling citizens as well as to the outbreak. Instead of sticking to the existing way of support, Seoul will quickly provide direct, sustainable, and concentrated support so that self-employed and small businesses can feel the benefit. Seoul plans to spend KRW 600 billion (USD 487 million) in total to give out cash for them.”
As a relief plan for struggling citizens, Seoul has come up with three measures so far offering (i) emergency fund to support living expenses, (ii) financial measures to revive the livelihood of hard-hit citizens (5.09 trillion won) and (iii) additional sources for emergency government fund. The cash support for the survival of the self-employed in Seoul is the fourth and unprecedented action pursued by the Seoul Metropolitan Government.
The self-employed and traditional markets in Seoul are seriously affected. The Business Survey Index (BSI) for the self-employed is lower than the average. Eight out of ten small businesses (81.7%) expected more than 50% sales drop due to the virus breakout. Seven out of ten predicted if the outbreak continues more than six months, they will have to consider shutting down.
Seoul will open up for online application around mid-May and offline application in June. Further notification will follow on required document, where to go and how to apply.