SEOUL, March 11 (Yonhap) — South Korean households’ spending on restaurants and hotels dropped in the fourth quarter of last year amid a resurge of coronavirus infections, central bank data showed Thursday.

Household spending on eating out and hospitality services came to 18.9 trillion won (US$16.6 billion) in the October-December period, dropping below the 20 trillion-won mark for the first time in five years, according to the data from the Bank of Korea.

The corresponding figure amounted to 19.9 trillion won in the first quarter of 2016.

The fourth-quarter decline came as in-person service industries, such as restaurants and hotels, took a big hit from the coronavirus outbreak.

Household spending on restaurants and hotels tumbled 14.8 percent on-quarter in the January-March period of last year in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. It was the first double-digit fall in 22 years.

Household expenditures on dining out and hospitality services inched up in the second quarter from a year earlier, but the amount fell 3.6 percent in the third quarter amid a resurgence of COVID-19 infections.

This file photo, taken Jan. 14, 2021, shows a notice informing customers of a temporary business closure due to the coronavirus put up at a restaurant in Seoul. (Yonhap)