We are all Daeguites now as city battles virus

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We are all Daeguites now as city battles virus

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The city of Daegu’s logo with a supportive message on it. [INSTAGRAM]

The coronavirus crisis has gone viral, as Instagrammers flood social media with #CheerUpDaegu messages tagging Daegu’s official account.

While the posts are simply offering moral support, some social networking efforts are doing more. Daegu Restaurant Daily, a Facebook page with 490,000 followers, has been introducing local restaurants in Daegu to help them sell their food via pick-up or delivery services. The strategy was so successful that some restaurants were posting “out of stock” messages.

“I have been running the store for eight years, but thanks to the Facebook post, I received the most delivery orders this time and could sell all my stock in three hours,” said Ham Tae-ho, who runs Mr. Ham’s Pocha in Daegu. “There were even customers who didn’t ask for change.”

In some cases, landlords offer rent-free periods to merchants. Yoon Seong-won, 42, owner of a three-story building in Suseong District, Daegu, decided not to charge a restaurant on the first floor and a karaoke bar on the third floor a total of 13 million won ($10,700) of rent this month.

“We used to make about 2 million won a day during the weekend, but these days, there are no customers at all. The restaurant on the first floor also earned 6 million won a day during the weekend, but that plunged to 120,000 won last weekend,” said the karaoke bar owner’s daughter.

The Industrial Bank of Korea will cut rents for its buildings by 30 percent for three months starting next month.

The Corona Now app developed by 16-year-old Choi Hyung-bin, who attends Gosan Middle School in Suseong District, is also popular. Developed even before the outbreak intensified in the area, it provides information about confirmed cases in Korea and in other countries.

The app developers said proceeds from ads on site banners will be used to buy masks, which will then be donated.

Spontaneous acts of kindness are not uncommon. Someone anonymously donated 4,000 masks to the Daegu Fire and Safety Department for the firefighters to wear.

The Kumbok Welfare Foundation, which is related to the Kumbokju beverage company, donated 1 billion won to the Korean Red Cross Daegu branch, asking for it to be used for relief goods. Actor Park Seo-jun donated 100 million won, and actress Lee Young-ae and entertainer Jang Sung-kyu donated 50 million won each. Public health specialists from around the country are gathering in Daegu to assist.

“It is time for everyone to give full material and emotional support for Daegu and North Gyeongsang,” said Lee Nak-yon, chairman of the Democratic Party’s special committee on the coronavirus, at a trilateral meeting of the government, the ruling party and presidential officials on Tuesday.

BY BAEK KYUNG-SEO, KIM YOUN-HO AND KIM JUNG-SEOK [kim.yeonah@joongang.co.kr]
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