COVID-19 took a toll on a friend of mine who owned one of the best restaurants in Durres, a coastal tourist city in central Albania.
He opened the restaurant in 2005, after returning from Germany where he worked as a cook after learning the job and falling in love with the cuisine. He finally decided to come back home and open a restaurant here because he saw a rise in the tourism industry and a business opportunity. He invested all his savings, took a loan and opened up his restaurant, and employed a considerable number of staff.
It became a popular family-owned restaurant and people loved the cuisine and he gained trust and loyalty from his customers. Long story short, everything was working out fine for him, he employed more employees and everything was perfect. He could pay rent, wages and make a profit. However, an unimaginable thing happened as we all know.
In early 2020, COVID-19 broke out and Albania, same as most countries, went into lockdown. After three months in lockdown and a lack of state support for small businesses, my friend couldn’t afford to pay the expenses. We were all expecting the coronavirus to go away, but it wasn’t going to go away so easily. As a business owner, my friend was now fighting for survival and sadly he was forced to sell the restaurant.
COVID-19 crushed many businesses separated many people, and destroyed many dreams, especially in small countries where the state support is not as evident as in the western countries. This is one of the many stories where people lost their businesses and from business owners, living the life and working with passion, they are now simple workers, doing any kind of job to provide food at home.
Finally, we all lost something during the pandemic. People lost their beloved family members, many died, and many are still fighting for survival. Therefore, seeing my friend lose his business was sad, but I’m happy we survived until now. However, we need to fight and get out of this situation stronger and united to secure a safe future for our kids.