SEOUL, March 11 (Korea Bizwire) — The majority of small businesses feel that the “rent reduction campaign” initiated to help merchants struggling due to the coronavirus outbreak has had no practical effect, a recent survey revealed.
A survey of 1,080 small business owners nationwide conducted by the Korea Federation of Micro Enterprise showed that 90.3 percent of the respondents did not benefit from the rent reduction campaign.
When asked if the respondents expected the campaign to ease the burden of small businesses through the rent reduction movement, 49.8 percent said they had “positive expectations” but 34.1 percent said the program would “benefit only a small number of people temporarily”.
A whopping 60.6 percent of the respondents said the campaign needed improvement. Specifically, survey participants called for direct rent support to small business owners from renters.
Some 26.7 percent of the respondents applied for employment support funds, while 10.9 percent said they did not apply. The remaining 45.6 percent were not eligible because they had fewer than five employees.
On the effectiveness of the support, 42.2 percent of the respondents said it was ineffective and 37.7 percent said it was effective.
Meanwhile, 42.5 percent of the respondents said that the beneficiaries of the support should be expanded to businesses with fewer than five employees.
Some 38 percent of the respondents were small business owners who did not hire employees separately.
Of the respondents, 26.7 percent said they were maintaining the same number of employees after the COVID-19 outbreak, while 16.9 percent and 12.6 percent said they had given workers leave or cut staff, respectively.
On the overall satisfaction of policies to support small business owners, 54.1 percent said they were not satisfied, with 25.4 percent saying they were “not sure” and only 20.4 percent “satisfied.”
“Most small business owners are directly affected by the coronavirus outbreak as they sell goods or provide services face-to-face at offline stores,” the federation said.
“We need to take special measures such as direct compensation for damages that are highly effective for small businesses.”
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)