Seoul offers help to tragedy-struck businesses in Itaewon

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Seoul offers help to tragedy-struck businesses in Itaewon

Seoul is offering emergency support to businesses in Itaewon suffering slumps in business following the Halloween crowed crush tragedy.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government announced Thursday an emergency economic relief plan for small businesses in Itaewon. It is planning to spend 10 billion won ($7.53 million) directly and another 7 billion won in vouchers that can be used at local businesses.
According to the Seoul city government, small business owners in Itaewon saw sales drop by some 60 percent in the second week of November compared to the fourth week of October. The tragedy that killed 158 people occurred on Oct. 29.
Foot traffic decreased by 30.5 percent in Itaewon 1-dong, the city added.
The city government will lend up to 30 million won to businesses at a fixed interest rate of 2.0 percent. A total of 2,409 small-and-medium-sized businesses in the Itaewon 1- and 2-dong area  are eligible.
They can apply from Nov. 28 to Dec. 14 at the Itaewon branches of Shinhan Bank, Industrial Bank of Korea and Hana Bank, Woori Bank’s Hannam-dong branch, and the Seoul Credit Guarantee Foundation's Yongsan Branch.
Details about applications are available from the Seoul Credit Guarantee Foundation Customer Center, which can be reached at 1577-6119.
In addition, the city government will give 7 billion won to Yongsan District to help increase sales of small business owners by promoting the use of discounted vouchers at businesses in Itaewon.
Apart from direct economic support, the city government promised to encourage the central government to revise laws so it can directly support small business owners. Korean law has a basis for legal support for damages from a disaster. Yet the ambiguous definition of "damages" has been an obstacle to providing direct support to merchants in Itaewon, the city said.
“We will help overcome the crisis in a swift manner through emergency support for small business owners in Itaewon who are suffering from damages following the Itaewon tragedy,” said Han Young-hee, director-general of the city’s Labor and Fairness policy Bureau. 

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