Bristling over virus restrictions, small business owners stage protest.



On Wednesday, small business people stage a sit-in protest in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul Wednesday.

Numerous small business people latched onto the streets in Seoul on Wednesday to show their pent-up anger across the government’s retightening of COVID-19 protocols nationwide.

Chants of “Stop politically-motivated quarantine measures that kill all business owners” resounded throughout Gwanghwamun Plaza in central Seoul for the reason that a large band of protesters demanded a sudden lift of gathering bans and operation hour limits.

“The above three-month-long level four social distancing in the more Seoul area, the vaccine pass system imposed on businesses a month following your government’s’gradual go back to normal ‘and the recent gathering ban and operation hour limits have threatened the livelihoods of small business people,” said Oh Sae-hee, president from the Korea Federation of Micro Enterprises, during a delivery at the event.

“There’s still further ahead to recovery on account of extended antivirus measures as well as government’s insufficient compensation for damages,” Oh added.

The group urged our government to abolish the vaccine pass system, end the 9 pm curfew on businesses and increase financial compensations for small businesses.

In addition, it requested us government reconsider applying the Labor Standards Act to small business owners of under-five workers, saying it might add an encumbrance to business people already hurt by the pandemic.


Demonstrators also hinted at staging a straight larger protest if demands are usually unmet.

The protest was originally registered to become attended by 299 website visitors to agree to the government’s gathering limit added to public protests. While the actual variety of attendees is unknown, at about 4:00 pm, some protesters who have been barred from entry clashed with law enforcement to the side of the barricades.

Protestors demanding entry clash with law enforcement at barricades surrounding a protest held on Wednesday, Gwanghwamun, central Seoul.

Wednesday’s demonstration comes amid progressively more small business people feeling the pinch over prolonged COVID-19 social distancing rules hindering their operations.

In line with market research from the Korea Economic Research Institute, 33 percent of 500 business people who have been polled said they might have to be banned within the next 11 weeks on account of financial hardships due to government restrictions on account of coronavirus.

Some are pushed to your edge. An who owns a Chinese restaurant in Jamsil, southern Seoul, made headlines after the local media report declared the actual death of suicide after financial hardships, just four days after the government retightened measures.

Around this month, 24 self-employed people took their lives in the last 2 yrs, reported by a business owner advocacy group.

Tempers have escalated even famously after us government announced at the beginning of December it could retighten antivirus measures as caseloads nationwide started soaring into your 7,000s under its “Existing with COVID-19” initiative. Since then, private social gatherings of 5 or maybe more people have been banned, and individuals are needed to examine their vaccination position at restaurants and other multi-use facilities.

Some business people have refused the government’s antivirus measures.

A franchise cafe owner drew media attention recently after declaring online the coffeehouse would stay open 24/7 in protest of the government’s operating hours restriction. Some train stations sensible to even encourage the entry of unvaccinated individuals.


The official with the Ministry of SMEs and Startups talks to the press.

With woes deepening among small business owners, the Ministry of SMEs and Startups said Wednesday morning it would distribute 1 million won ($840) in cash to each of the 3.2 million small business owners susceptible to the government’s hours limits in February.

But protestors at the event in Gwanghwamun Plaza told The Korea Herald just how much is inadequate to repay damages.

“I’ve lost vast amounts of won within the past 2 yrs, 1 million won in compensation is going to do poor quality,” a who owns a bar in Gangnam said.

Experts suggest that the government should allow businesses to function, but under more intricate virus-curbing measures that think about a variety of businesses, especially since Korea has the highest proportions of self-employed people on earth. Their suffering might have major implications on the nation’s economy.

“The federal government needs to allow people to do business. Maybe think of a different gathering limit or operational hour restrictions regarding the form of business. Compensating in cash doesn’t seem to be effective anymore,” said economics professor Kim Sang-bong of Hansung University.

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