Covid-19: “I started a fish and chips shop in a soft play area”

While the coronavirus pandemic impacted the economy, some entrepreneurs have found creative ways to survive the crisis.

While the coronavirus pandemic impacted the economy, some entrepreneurs have found creative ways to survive the crisis.

Paulina Kozlowska is the owner of  Sea Life Play Centre in the city centre of Southampton that opened a year before the pandemic.

In March 2020 she was forced to close her business due to Covid-19 restrictions.

She said: “I was devastated after I found that I would have to close my business for an unknown period of time.”

Ms Kozlowska’s business was close to bankruptcy, but she found a way out of the crisis.

She decided to open a fish and chips restaurant in the middle of her soft play area.

“I realised that there was a huge demand for takeaways,” she said.

“I thought that opening a fish and chips restaurant might not be a bad idea.”

A newly opened jewellery store

Ms Kozłowska is not the only person who decided to deal with the fear of insolvency.

Klaudia Burzawa, a housekeeper from Southampton, decided to open an online jewellery shop.

She said: “During the first lockdown I almost lost my whole income, but luckily my boyfriend and I had some savings.”

She added: “The purpose of my new business is to provide extra money without taking the risk of loss. Moreover, I will still work as a housekeeper.”

Ms Burzawa, believes that having an online jewellery shop is a secure form of income.

She said: “Some shops which moved to the internet are doing well because they only pay for the product materials and for the website.”

Sometimes lucky, sometimes not

Not everyone can say that the opening of a new business during the pandemic is a good idea.

Pawel Hatlapa, 28, from Southampton bought a brand-new car and applied for the Uber Taxi licence.

“I was convinced that the pandemic would make taxi drivers richer as people would avoid the public transport, but I was wrong.”- said Mr Hatlapa.

He also added: “I invested too much money and I wish I could turn back time.”

Now Mr Hatlapa works as a bus driver for a company that supplies hospitals with COVID-19 tests.

The Government support

Boris Johnson made an official statement where he assured that the government will always support affected businesses.

He said: “ Our Job Support Scheme will cover two-thirds of the wages of those in any business that is required to close, and providing those businesses with a cash grant of up to £3,000 a month, instead of £1500 every three weeks.”

Many business owners cannot wait till all coronavirus restrictions that were imposed three months ago will be lifted.

In February  the government  begun to plan how England can safely leave the third national lockdown.

The Prime Minister hopes that all restrictions will be lifted by the 21 of June 2021.

The impact of the coronavirus on small businesses
According to the Office for National Statistics 227,000 (4.5%) redundancies were made in the three months to August – the fastest rise on record. Image source: Mateusz Jaronski
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