Romanians go to polls amid pandemic discontent, as Moldovans did earlier

For Laura, a 37-year-old entrepreneur in the educational sector, the Covid-19 pandemic brought her business to the brink of bankruptcy. She owns a Japanese Abacus and Mental Arithmetic Educational Centre for children in Ploiesti, 60 kilometres from Bucharest. 

“The pandemic period was extraordinarily stressful and full of unknown situations. We had to immediately find solutions to move the courses online, to reorganize the schedule, to use social media accounts and platforms, and to communicate quickly and efficiently with the parents,” she told me.

With close to half a million citizens infected with the new coronavirus, and a death toll which has risen to 11,000 since March, Romania is facing a challenging situation coping with the pandemic. 

In mid-March, the Romanian government ordered a total lockdown. Laura was only able to reopen her centre in August. More than half the enrolled children withdrew immediately, as their parents were not open to continue with online courses.

For her business, the state financial aid consisted of some subsidies to keep her employees. Still, the rent, utilities and technical support for moving courses online was a significant challenge for Laura. The state did not cover her biggest losses at all. 

“I was worried every day if we would manage at least to close the month on zero profit,” she added. 

She had to improvise and cut expenses, but it was tough because she could not make changes to already-signed contracts. 

“Unfortunately, this period is not over yet. I watch the news daily to see if we will need to close again or not. The stress is enormous. The fear of losing everything is overwhelming,” said the entrepreneur and teacher. 

Laura is disappointed by …

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