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Pandemic has changed the way we do business

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The coronavirus pandemic has brought about business changes, both in their type and their style of operation.

Much of this came about from restrictions imposed by the government and as such, these changes are not static but are fluid.

Let’s take a closer look at these business transformations.

Takeaway food and coffee service are the new “in thing” that has created business for new and old entrepreneurs, some of whom offer excellent quality of service and quick delivery. This operation is usually staffed by foreign workers who undertake the delivery on small motorbikes within a reasonable time (15-30 minutes depending on distance).

  • This sector has brought about increased demand for young chefs, be it not to Gordon Ramsey’s standards but some are very good, creating a shortage of these professionals.
  • Similarly, home delivery provided by supermarkets to your doorstep on the same or, at worst, the next day does away with queueing in stores, a blessing for the older generation.
  • Packing firms are now on the up, following the takeaway trade. Fresh fish is delivered in cool boxes duly packed with ice whereas vegetables are of good quality and fresh.

Restrictions on travel abroad have directed demand towards out-of-the-way destinations, such as mountain resorts or more distant locations, such as northwestern Paphos.

  • These “new” visitors comprise mainly the younger generation (20–30-year-olds) who express their surprise that Cyprus has such nice countryside. It is reflected in hotel occupancy while dining in such locations, the cost of which has risen to that of beach resorts. In a hotel that we visited as a passer-by; we noted many new cars with a price tag of no less than €70,000. The new source of wealth is from the National Health Scheme benefits not only doctors and medical staff, but also chemists and laboratory operators, and others in similar fields.
  • As a result of the pandemic restrictions, hotels in the mountain resorts have enjoyed increased interest from investors. In Platres alone three hotels were sold last year, as did the Berengaria at Prodromos.
  • Despite the passport issue and the sharp drop in demand for real estate from high-income groups, based on new car import data, distributors claim they have run out of stock of many premium models. Difficult to understand, bearing in mind the uncertainty of the overall economy, but there you are.
  • The lockdown of gyms has redirected trainers to provide a personal service at their client’s home with the more established ones starting work from 7 am and going non-stop until late afternoon.
  • Unemployed young teachers with some talent, are also in demand for home education to young children, keeping them busy and allowing the parents to work (from home or otherwise).
  • The slowdown in regular visits to holiday homes has created a demand for security firms with the “appropriate” charges increased. Those who have never had this service seek it.

The change in our social-economic circumstances has not had any impact on real estate.

  • Maybe it is too early, and we will have to wait. There is increased interest for “unvisited” areas while visits to parks, dams, waterfalls (under the pretext of exercise) have attracted hundreds of visitors, as seen more recently with visits to snow-covered Troodos.
  • A more daring venture is having a “mobile wine bar” selling zivania, ouzo, warm wines, and sausages (Austrian type), (sounds great, but subject to permits).
  • Home cooking based on “how-to” TV programmes for amateur chefs has created good business for suppliers of equipment (Thermomix is an example) that can make just about anything from bread to soups to more “complicated” dishes including Chinese and Indian, as well as other local and foreign recipes.
  • There is a growing interest for property landlords to provide all-inclusive concierge services, from housekeeping to food delivery, ironing and pet care (especially for foreign residents).
  • You must have noticed the novelty of dog walkers, although we see this abroad, it is now becoming frequent in Cyprus, too, to the extent that dog walking “groups” are becoming very popular with financial rewards for the dog walkers.
  • At-home car washing and cleaning services. Who on earth would have thought about this, but it is here and is most convenient, be it at a slightly higher cost than the local carwash.
  • Building maintenance firms have started to appear in an increasing number, in our experience, they are not the best quality or completion time. Increasing demand for upgrading and repairs, there is a huge market for services which can provide just about everything from decoration, carpentry, electrical repair and fixing home equipment. With quality craftspeople (a rarity nowadays) and good organisation, costing around 30-40% more, it is attractive to many owners to have on-hand supervision and coordination.

Surely the pandemic will change the way we do business and live, including work-from-home (exploited with increasing inefficiency). Once the pandemic ends, we will have to adjust to the new state of affairs.

While talking about outdoor visits, it seems the Planning Authority has stopped the Mongolian tents (Yurts), much to our satisfaction.