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S. Korea's fourth round of COVID-19 relief funds to focus on helping small businesses Updated: 2021-03-03 07:18:47 KST

The fourth round of COVID-19 relief funds promises broader and deeper support.
With this, businesses that suffered from the extended ban on gatherings, such as gyms and singing rooms, will receive the maximum amount of around 4,500 U.S. dollars.
Those with shorter bans on gatherings like private academies and winter sports facilities will receive up to 3,600 dollars.
And cafes or restaurants that have suffered some gathering restrictions will receive some 2,700 dollars.
More businesses are eligible for the support, including employers with more than five workers, newly opened businesses, and those who run up to two businesses.
So someone who owns an Internet cafe and a singing room,could receive a total of 8,900 dollars.
Businesses with annual revenues of less than 900-thousand U.S. dollars are eligible for the payments,a huge jump from the previous 360-thousand dollar threshold.
And some industries that didn't suffer from any gathering restrictions at all could still receive payments.
Businesses in industries that saw a more than 20 percent drop in sales due to the pandemic, such as tourism, can receive up to 1,800 dollars in support.
In total, an extra 1.0-5 million businesses are eligible to receive support, lifting the total to some 3.85 million recipients.
For many businesses though, this support doesn't come close to covering their losses.

"It will be nice if it helped, but how helpful would it be at this point? I heard the fourth round is larger so it could be a little bit more helpful. But still for those who are hit hardest, it wouldn't be much help."

But for others, it is meaningful regardless of the amount.

"I received 1,800 dollars and 2,700 dollars previously and that actually did help a little in paying the rent. The fourth round will be more helpful financially and psychologically I guess."

In addition, in this round, the government also aims to cover some of the blind spots from previous rounds, including freelancers and taxi drivers.
Those in the lowest income bracket will also receive some living support.

The upcoming round of support the largest so far comes as the vaccine rollout is underway and restrictions are being eased.
With the country’s efforts to end the pandemic, these funds will hopefully help businesses survive until life gets back to normal.
Kim Sung-min, Arirang News.
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