The Seoul Metropolitan Government has announced the “Seoul City Emergency Economic Stimulus Package,” which has been developed as a means of stabilizing the livelihoods of the public and minimizing the impact of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) on the weakened consumer sentiment.
As a first step, the city government will invest emergency funds of KRW 10 billion by the end of July in order to provide public jobs for approximately 2,000 unemployed youths and low-income households, who are struggling to keep themselves afloat. Particularly, the measure plans to engage those working in the culture and tourism sector as well as small merchants, who have been the hardest hit by the MERS outbreak.
Second, as emergency welfare funds, Seoul City will provide one month of living expenses, ranging from KRW 409,000 (for one-person households) to KRW 1,514,700 (for six-person households), to those who have been quarantined or hospitalized due to MERS. Benefitting from the stimulus package will be about 2,842 quarantined and hospitalized patients (as of June 13), 525 people who have recently been released from quarantine, and others who are expected to suffer related damages in the future.
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Third, emergency funds of about KRW 200 billion will be distributed among merchants, who have been hit hard by MERS, either directly or indirectly. Also, small-sized firms and small merchants, who have been operating their businesses for more than six months, are eligible to receive special deposits and loans—a maximum of KRW 50 million per company.
In addition, restaurants, bakeries, and supermarkets—frontline sectors in close connection with the livelihood of the people—will be offered a maximum of KRW 1 million per store and a total of KRW 450 million in consulting and maintenance funds. In the future, the city government will provide additional support for merchants in connection with the government support measures.
Fourth, in order to prevent MERS from spreading through traditional markets and shopping districts, and to secure the safety of visiting citizens, 25 autonomous districts and 344 traditional markets will be equipped, very soon, with a total of 750 hand sterilizers, 5,595 hand sanitizers (875ml), and 27,714 gel-type hand disinfectants (476ml).
Fifth, Seoul City will regularly announce the current status of the MERS outbreak in the Seoul area and keep citizens updated on the city government’s measures. In addition, while collecting suggestions and concerns from each and every company and area in need of government assistance, Seoul City will request that companies with workers suspected of having come into contact with the MERS virus preserve the positions and salaries of such workers.
Lastly, by spending 58 percent of the budget subject to early execution (a combined amount of KRW 22.2895 trillion in the city and districts) in the first half of this year, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will take the lead in supporting the weakened economy and promoting consumption.