Feb 19, 2021 | Poland Fights With COVID

Facing the Polish Lockdown

How did I find out how Poland fights with COVID? Well, at the beginning of this year, I got the diagnosis. At first, it looked like flu and immobilized me for about two days. It wasn’t flu though — it was COVID. Even though I was laying in bed for such a short time, the disease forced me to stay in Poland for over 7 weeks. It was because I couldn’t board on the plane for as long as I was COVID-positive.

Immobility is always difficult for me. Whenever I cannot move, I start thinking about all my mistakes. Namely, all the things that I did wrong in my life, or didn’t do even though I should have. But the COVID episode also had some positive consequences for me. During these few long weeks, I discovered that I can actually work from anywhere, not just from home in the Netherlands. It brought me lots of ideas for the future. I also reconnected with some of my friends from high school and got familiar with the reality of living in Poland in the times of corona.

What especially stunned me was the way Polish entrepreneurs fight against the corona regulations — or rather, against the populistic and totalitarian government. Unlike in the Netherlands or other West-world countries, in Poland, business owners are not supported by the government. Officially, there are some small benefits, such as one-time subsidies amounting to about 1,100 EUR or the stand-by status by which you don’t need to make monthly payments to the retirement fund.

However, these benefits are by no means enough to keep the companies on the safe side. So, I’m quite proud to see that Polish businesses took the challenge and fight against (often stupid) restrictions to stay afloat. I feel that one can learn a lot about business development (and about how to become unflappable in hard times) from them.

How Poland Fights With COVID

In this post, I’d like to mention the number of solutions that the management of Polish businesses and organizations came up with to prevent their businesses from instant death in the lockdown.

1. Polish National Swimming Association Summons All the Members to Join the National Olympic Team.

Because of the lockdown, since 28th December 2020, the Polish national representation in swimming has the exclusive right to enter swimming pools, and practice swimming. The Polish National Swimming Association immediately reacted to this restriction by summoning all the members of the association to join the national team. This means that the Polish national representation is swimming has a headcount of more than 10,000 swimmers at the moment.

2. Polish Hotel Owners Play a Game Against the Regulations.

Instead of renting a hotel room or a cottage house, you can, for instance:

  • Rent a shed for your ski, with a possibility to tend your ski 24/7 by sleeping in the associated room,

  • Enroll for a snow removal job with free accommodation extra,

  • Visit an uncle or an aunt (namely, a person who declares to be your distant friends and happens to also be the hotel owner),

  • Book a parking slot with free accommodation extra.

  • Sign a contract and rent a hotel room as a tenant instead of booking it.

If you believe that these solutions are outrageous, I’d like to mention that most of the hotels offering these services sold out at a fast pace.

3. Polish Gastronomy Isn’t Any Less Creative.

Since the lockdown has started and it is no longer possible to serve meals on the site, many restaurant owners introduced other solutions (next to, obviously, home delivery):

  • A few Polish hotels rent rooms per hour (usually, at unusually low prices, e.g. 1 PLN= 0.23 EUR per hour), and deliver meals coming from the hotel kitchen straight to the hotel room. You can’t deny it’s a home delivery!

  • A restaurant in Cracov rents tables per hour. After signing a rental contract, clients can eat their home delivery meal at the site, as they formally rent the table,

  • A restaurant in Łódź offers workshops in “correct usage of cutlery and consumption of coffee, tea, and snacks.” After filling in a questionnaire, every participant of the workshop receives a one of seven stands and a package of didactic materials (i.e., cutlery, coffee, tea, and snacks),

  • Since gastronomy locals are closed until further notice, some night club owners rebrand their businesses. Namely, they launch sports clubs at the site, offering “training in competitive dancing.” In practice, it means regular dancing classes in the night-club style with drinks sold at the bar,

  • In a few mountain villages, local mountaineers declared veto towards the lockdown regulations. Namely, they opened their restaurants despite the restrictions, concluding that losses associated with the lockdown are much higher than penalties resulting from breaking the rules.

4. BHP Workshop At the Gym?

Many gyms offer “workshops on the correct usage of the sports equipment.” You can walk in, pay at the entrance, get detailed instructions for how to use all the machines at the site… and then be given time to perfect your newly acquired skills.

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Of course, on many occasions, business owners make a far stretch from the rules. So, shall I be ashamed or shall I be proud? Well, one thing I admire people in business for is that the are so alive. While employees on salaries debate on social media how the corona crisis affects their mental health and spend time on worrying, entrepreneurs keep on fighting and try double hard to stay afloat, although objectively, their mental health is affected even more.

Therefore, I truly admire these efforts. After all, no one wants the situation in which hundreds of thousands of Polish micro-companies get bankrupt and millions of people lose their jobs. Have you heard of any other instances in which Polish entrepreneurs found unorthodox solutions to the lockdown? Please share with me below!

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Please cite as: Bielczyk, N. (2021). Poland Fights With COVID. Retrieved from https://nataliabielczyk.com/poland-fights-with-covid/

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