Food service industry uneasy over resurgence of COVID-19

People mostly drink and eat outdoors in downtown Seoul on April 23. Korea Times file

By Kim Jae-heun

Food service industry uneasy over resurgence of COVID-19

With the resurgence of new cases of the Omicron subvarieties in South Korea, the local food service industry is deeply concerned that the government may again impose stricter quarantine measures. On Thursday,
the number of new COVID-19 infections daily reached 39,196, more than double the number a week ago.
Restaurant and bar owners fear inevitable losses if the government limits night business hours to multipurpose facilities or limits the size of personal gatherings.

“I’ve just begun to see people eating and drinking, but I’m worried that the new COVID-19 cases are soaring here and that they may return to what they were a year ago. I have. ” The owner of the bar, named
Kang said the situation for small business owners was worse than in 2021 as rent and labor costs increased over time and utility bills increased.

On July 1, the government will raise electricity and gas prices at the same time and will raise prices again in October. Prices of commodities such as cooking oil and wheat rose here, partly due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, which pushed up food prices around the world.
“If the current wave of COVID-19 and economic uncertainty continues, many small business owners could go bankrupt and close their businesses later this year. The government will pay for living here. We have taken various steps to stabilize it, but they do not seem to be effective. ”

The daily number of new COVID-19 infections reached 40,266 on Wednesday after a sharp increase since late June. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) predicts that by the end of this month, the number of new infections per day will reach 150,000 if current trends continue. Before this, the KDCA expected another wave of COVID-19 between September and October, but due to the summer vacation season and the recent lifting of the travel ban, it tends to be three to four months earlier than expected, Appeared.

The Omicron BA.5 subvariant is known to be more contagious than previous strains because it essentially avoids currently available vaccines or antibodies induced by previous infections. BA.5 is expected to soon become the dominant strain in South Korea as its share of total infections surged from 28.2% last week to 35% last week.
Adding to concerns, the country confirmed on Thursday its first case of BA.2.75, the heavily mutated Omicron subvariant known as Centaurus.

Note : Except the Headline this News is not altered by Kissasian. 

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