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Chuseok holiday will be 10 days for the lucky

Sept 06,2017
The government on Tuesday designated Oct. 2 a so-called temporary holiday, making a long weekend for some before the Chuseok holiday, Korea’s harvest festival.

The cabinet approved the plan in a move that will create a 10-day Chuseok holiday from Sept. 30 through Oct. 10. Chuseok falls on Oct. 4 while a public holiday commemorating the Korean alphabet, Hangul, is set for Oct. 9.

Only public institutions including government agencies and schools will automatically get a holiday on Oct. 2. Private companies will decide on their own.

“We made the decision as early as possible to allow the industrial community as well as the public to better manage their schedules,” President Moon Jae-in said.

The president stressed to his cabinet that such a long break should boost domestic consumption and stimulate the economy.

Chances are slim that workers at small-and-medium sized companies will have Oct. 2 off.

Last year, 50.3 percent of respondents working at smaller companies said that they are unable to enjoy temporary holidays set by the government because they have to keep factories running.

Retailers welcomed the decision and hope people will spend the extra days off shopping.

A spokesperson at Lotte Mart said so-called temporary holidays typically help the big discount chains.

“The government set May 6 as a one-time holiday last year just before Children’s Day on May 5,” the spokesperson said.

“Sales at Lotte Mart jumped 37 percent between May 5 and 7 compared to the same period the previous year. Temporary holidays certainly encourage people to spend more time and money at retail chains,” he said.

The Korea Federation of Micro Enterprise, an association that represents mom-and-pop stores and self-employed people, echoed the sentiment.

“We hope that the decision to set a temporary holiday would help stimulate domestic consumption,” the association said in a statement.

The group called on the government to come through with follow-up measures to boost consumption.

“To maximize the effect [of the holiday], the government should come up with measures to support retailers on the street and traditional markets,” it said.

For the temporary holiday on May 6, the government waived highway tolls and entry fees at tourist sites. The government will waive highway tolls between Oct. 3 and Oct. 5 this year.

BY PARK EUN-JEE [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]