Entrepreneurs fight for existence

The corona pandemic is hitting some industries particularly hard these weeks.

Klötze l The Klötzer florist Heiko Behne had to put 50 employees on short-time work due to the tightened lockdown on December 16. The situation in the company has been tense since that day. With the exception of a few wholesale customers and a few bouquets and wreaths for funerals, trade has almost completely come to a standstill. “During the tightened lockdown period, we lost up to 70 percent in sales,” emphasized the managing director.

Since the state of emergency continues until February 15, Behne’s Valentine’s business is completely lost the day before. The entrepreneur offers a contactless sale of flowers in his shops, including in Klötze. “But I can’t make any money with that. This service is customer care because there is no relationship between effort and benefit, “notes the florist and does the math:” If a customer orders a bouquet for 3 p.m., I have to call the saleswoman, she has to drive to the shop and I bring the flowers there ”, lists Heiko Behne.

A flower shop in the Klötzer shopping center at Hegefeld closed before the turn of the year. An insurance company is now based in the premises. Heiko Behne suspects that the longer the tightened lockdown lasts, it could affect several retailers. This means that he can continue to lose customers in the future, because one or the other flower shop might no longer exist after the current store closes.

Restaurateurs receive financial aid

As for the issue of short-time work benefits, Heiko Behne first has to lay out the money for his employees before he receives it from the employment agency. “The situation is serious, we are facing dark times,” the businessman looks to the future.

The master hairdresser Constanze Witte from Klötz is also looking at an uncertain time. Her business has been closed since December 16 and her four employees are on short-time work. “On the last day before the lockdown, we worked until the late evening hours,” she looks back. It is uncertain when she will be able to reopen her new shop. The tightened lockdown will last until February 14th.

That is how long she has to hold out financially. She pays her trainees out of her own pocket. Since the young woman is also not allowed to work in the shop, she prepares at home on a dummy head for the intermediate examination in February, if it takes place. Constanze Witte did not get state aid during this lockdown phase, she was told. She received the 9,000 euros in March 2020, and she has to pay tax on it. Since she has just moved into her new residential and commercial building and still has a loan that she has suspended for two months, she is glad that her husband is fully at work. She hopes that she will be able to go back to work soon. Because after the two-month break, the rush of customers will be huge.

The situation is also tense for restaurateurs. Because currently, some restaurants only live from out-of-home sales. Since sales are limited, they are dependent on government support in order to remain liquid. “We received half of the announced 75 percent financial aid in November and December. That helps us a lot, ”remarked Christel Zeitz from the Gasthof Zu den Linden in Immekath. She had to send her employees on short-time work. She lost her apprentice shortly after her apprenticeship. Fortunately, many customers would accept the out-of-home offer.

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