December 16, 2021 11:20
Small businesses are strongly resisting government plans to impose a fresh lockdown as coronavirus cases surge after Korea began a phased return to normal last month.
The government on Thursday decided to allow only up to four people who are fully vaccinated to gather in restaurants or cafés, while re-imposing the curfew on them until 9:00 p.m. under the new lockdown, which will last until Jan. 2 next year.
A coalition of small-business owners on Wednesday warned they could end cooperation with health authorities and stage a massive protest against the government in Seoul's Gwanghwamun on Dec. 22.
"Why is the responsibility of the government and health authorities being shifted onto small businesses again?" the coalition said in a statement. "We are going to take to the streets again due to their indifferent attitude."
"In a couple of weeks we will have to pay our employees yet another increase in the minimum wage. We are being pushed to the precipice once again," it added.
The protest will call for an end to vaccine passes, restrictions on customer numbers and curfews, and applying stringent labor rules to business with fewer than five staff.
The coalition held a drive-in protest in downtown Seoul in July, and in October they staged a sit-in at the government complex in Gwanghwamun and threatened a massive rally, which they called off when the government promised to start lift lockdown in November.
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