Leeds small businesses face ‘a change of direction’ due to Covid-19

Store window with sorry we're closed sign.All non-essential businesses in the UK were asked to close to fight coronavirus.

Despite uncertainty, some business owners say government support will help deal with stress over financial difficulties.

As coronavirus cases are quickly increasing around the country, strict measures have been adopted to slow down the spread.

This has led to all non-essential businesses having to close and people going into government-imposed lockdown for an undetermined period of time.

Small businesses in Leeds are feeling the impact of the pandemic in many different ways, with some being taken aback by the sudden changes in policy and others having prepared beforehand for the worst.

Kam Tabbir, the managing director of Lion Tiles Wholesalers said “we’re very hopeful”, as demand for DIY materials has increased and the company started offering free delivery in Leeds to adapt to the national lockdown.

With restaurants, pubs and clubs being the first asked to close, Richard Revill, who owns plant-based cafe The Greenhouse in Horsforth, spoke about foreseeing it, but feeling “positive”.

“We could see what was happening in other European countries, so it was never a surprise. We need to take this time to pause, reflect and try to see the positives.”

A higher impact was suffered by Done up North, a furniture up-cycling business set up by designer Nicky Cash, who was about to move to new premises and start doing workshops. Nicky said she is “unsure” of what support is available for the self-employed as of now.

Responses to Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s support package

Both Richard and Kam expressed relief at the Government’s measures to ease the pressure of financial difficulties both for employers and staff.

Richard said it gives “a sense of security” and he is happy to reassure his employees that “it’s not the end”.

The situation is more challenging for Nicky, who constantly has “to replan”: “I spent last week changing my business, you have to be creative and work as you go along”.

About the Author

Eliza Lita
Leeds Now reporter and second year Journalism student.

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