SEOUL, Jan. 16 (Yonhap) -- Four out of 10 self-employed people in South Korea are considering closing their businesses due to sluggish sales amid the long-enforced strict social distancing rules during the coronavirus pandemic, a survey showed Sunday.
According to the survey of 500 people operating restaurants, retail and other service businesses by the Federation of Korean Industries (FKI), a major business lobby group, 40.8 percent said that they are considering discontinuing their operations.
Of them, 28.2 percent cited declining sales and profits as a major reason. Difficulty in securing funds and increasing burdens from loans came next with 17.8 percent, the survey showed.
Small merchants and self-employed people have been hard hit by the protracted social distancing rules and curbs on business operation hours put in place to fight the pandemic.
The government plans to maintain a 9 p.m. curfew on restaurants and cafes, while raising the limit on the size of private gatherings to six from the current four from Monday through Feb. 6.
Of those surveyed, 30.7 percent voiced concerns over subdued consumer sentiment as the pandemic continues to affect their spending. Tight social distancing rules and restricted store operations came next with 22.9 percent.