How to Help Local Industries and Initiatives During the Coronavirus Crisis

more than a year ago
It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that the travel and tourism industry is a mega economy. Internationally, it rakes in somewhere between 7.6 and 8.8 trillion dollars every year and, for some countries, it is only a dribble of this pile that goes their way. It's that dribble, however, that keeps millions of people in their jobs and sometimes the entire country running. Of course, we're talking about developing nations in the most extreme of cases, but this is something to keep in mind. For Poland, however, the 21.4 million visitors in 2019 places the country somewhere around the 16th most-visited country in the world. In money terms, tourism brought about $16 billion USD in 2018 to Poland - that's about 3% of the country's $532.3 billion in GDP that year. Too many statistics? That's hundreds of thousands of jobs, not counting the hospitality industry and local infrastructure - altogether millions of livelihoods rely on tourism to get by...

...and then one day, it all stops.

The Coronavirus crisis will pass eventually, though we don't know when. No one knows exactly when, and that is the hardest part for businesses - that includes Poland In Your Pocket. Without a market for our products, we face the very real possibility of shutting down after 21 years of continually producing guides. And we know that we're not the only ones: Within our community of restaurants, cafés, bars & clubs, museums, shops, hotels, hostels and public institutes, everyone is in dire straits without the movement of people that stimulates our economy. We are appealing to you, the reader, on behalf of everyone mentioned, for your help. There are many ways you and the rest of the world can help us continue to make a living until the pandemic storm subsides. As always, we appreciate your engagement in our content more than anything else; if you feel the passion in our words and content as much as we do, we encourage you to share them with others. If you appreciate our content, get it delivered straight to your inbox by subscribing to the POLAND IN YOUR POCKET newsletter, and help us build the community of readers we need to support us. Those able to make a direct contribution, can also do so by clicking here. We promise to continue putting our talents to the promotion of Poland, Polish causes and Polish culture as long as we can.

Below, we have listed a number of additional things you can join Poland In Your Pocket in doing to help local industries and the communities we live in during the Coronavirus crisis.

1) Stay at Home

This may sound more than a little ironic coming from a tourism website, but we're dead serious. The world needs to control the spread of this pandemic and minimising human contact through 'social distancing' is one of the best chances that you have to prevent contracting Coronavirus. The sooner it gets under control, the sooner things will start to return to normal... and we can't wait! It's for good reason that the hashtags #staythefuckhome and #zostańwdomu are currently trending in Poland...
Keep COVID-19 at bay with the most basic of acts: thoroughly washing your hands!

2) Maintain Basic Hygiene

We know this is basic housekeeping by now, but we need to say it again. Aside from minimising human contact, this is the other vital point for reducing the spread of coronavirus. Small actions make a big difference!

The Polish Ministry of Health advises everyone to:
     • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water.
     • Cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing.
     • Keep at least two metres distance between yourself and others who are coughing and sneezing.
     • If you return from a region where Coronavirus is present and you have symptoms of illness or have had contact with a person infected, call a sanitary-epidemiological station or seek medical help at an infection/observation ward.

We should all be familiar with basic hygiene, but it's good to be refreshed on the whole matter. Remember that wearing a health-mask is not an effective way of avoiding transmission! If you're unwell, follow the last point mentioned above.

Read our article on Coronavirus in WROCŁAW: Latest Travel Info & Updates

3) Order Takeaway or Delivery

Hospitality and tourism go hand in hand. If the restaurants have good business, the knock-on effect is huge! Now that Poland has ordered the closure of all restaurants, even the smart diners are starting to do takeaway or delivery. If you can, try to order directly from the venue by calling or ordering online - delivery apps are great, but they take 30% the cost of each transaction, leaving minimal profit to the restaurant - every penny counts in these testing times. If a restaurant doesn't have its own delivery team, in this case, the delivery apps work in everyone's benefit.

Platforms like Pyszne.pl have a no contact delivery option, which means the delivery guy will just leave your order at your door and walk away. They're now also required to wear gloves. Even though you may have been the one who bought out half the flour, yeast and eggs in stock at your local Biedronka, you can still find time to treat yourself once or twice a week to a takeaway. Remember, you're indirectly helping the economy that probably brought you to Poland in the first place! Also, if you're getting takeaway, don't forget to tip well, even if they'll only accept card payments.

Read our list of the best Restaurants doing TAKEAWAY & DELIVERY IN WROCŁAW.

4) Donate to Good Causes - Directly or by Ordering Food!

We're all in this together, and members of HoReCa (hotels, restaurants and catering services) and those closely associated with them, understand that although the situation is bad, there are many others in a far worse situation that require our help. Whether organised through organic volunteer movements, or by restaurateurs themselves, a no. of charitable causes have arisen, all with their very own hashtags like #Gastropomaga (gastro is helping)! 

Some of the best we've seen relate to helping our fellow man in times of need! As we self-isolate, spare a thought for paramedics, nurses and doctors who are on the frontline doing their best to combat COVID-19, often having to stay away from their own loved ones to minimise the spread of the virus. With the extra long hours they're working, it's hard to stop and eat a proper meal! That's where we all step in. By ordering your food through restaurants that are signed up to the causes (found by the hashtags or directly on their Facebook profiles, shown below), you can order your own meal and choose to donate any extra amount of money you choose towards helping medical staff and vulnerable members of society, such as senior citizens. You don't even have to order for yourself, you can choose to simply buy a meal and have it delivered to the medical facility of your choice. Alternatively, you can donate any amount of money you wish via one of the Polish equivalents of a Gofundme page (Zrzutka.pl) to the cause of your choice. Here are the ones we believe are worth supporting (there are more springing up each day of course, and it wasn't easy to whittle it down to just a handful!):

#posiłekdlalekarza (meals for medical staff) - donate directly here.
#posiłekdlaseniora (meals for seniors) - donate directly here.
#Zamawiampomagam (I'm ordering, I'm helping) - order one meal, another free meal will be delivered to medical staff!

An altogether different approach to supporting those in need of additional help comes from the fledgling 3D printing industry. How so? In Italy, a 3D printing company reacted to the urgent need to produce respirator valves to help COVID-19 patients in intensive care. It worked. And in Poland too, there are companies doing their best to deal with a shortage of equipment.

The first is a volunteer movement from a group of three that have their own 3D printing farm, and what did they do? They began to print face shields to donate to medical staff dealing with Coronavirus patients. Excellent. The open source plans originate from a group of scientists at the Královské Vinohrady University Hospital in Prague, which were uploaded for anyone to use. And that's where the Polish team, consisting of Łukasz Więcek, his wife Justyna, and friend Eliza Zaborowska stepped in. Each shield takes 2.5h to make, and in the space of a few days, they were able to donate 150 shields to hospitals! They plan to make many more, but for this to happen, they require donations - you can help by donating any amount you see fit to their zrzutka.pl page. A very worthy cause for a very practical piece of protective equipment.

And then there's the issue of maintaining a healthy supply of respirators/ventilators to people who need them. A Polish company, Urbicum, have designed and already tested a prototype respirator, which can be 3D printed and assembled anywhere, at a total cost of 200zł (roughly £40 / €44 / $47). This is not intended to replace existing respirators used in medical facilities, but to act as a back-up if alternatives are quickly required. Also, it's worth noting that there should be no problem with supply in Europe, North America and Asia, however in developing countries this could be a potential lifeline. They are looking not for donations, but for expertise in refining their design. You can find out more by visiting their website.

5) Take a Virtual Tour of a Museum or Art Gallery

Fortunately in the 21st century, virtual museums and art galleries are a way for people to access a cultural space from a remote location. Thanks to self-isolation and quarantine measures, what was until recently more or less a fancy gimmick for museums to have on their websites has now become one of the only ways to still enjoy the museum experience. Explore Warsaw online from the comfort (and safety) of your own home.

6) Read up on places you'd like to visit in the Future!

While the COVID-19 bug is something we're trying to get rid of, the travel bug is something we should still be embracing. Things will, eventually, get back to normal, and borders, flight paths and travel agents will all reopen sooner or later. You're already reading this article, so you're on the right track! We encourage you to continue here and elsewhere. Consider buying a book or a subscription to a travel publication - if not for yourself, as a gift for someone else!  And, if it's an interactive online space, make sure you leave a comment. It's not just for stats - we and other publications genuinely love to connect with our readers. If you have a question, we will glady assist!

7) Shop Online

Some people love to shop until they drop, and thanks to a little ole thing called the Internet, despite the advice to stay home,we can all still continue to maintain our purchasing power. By continuing to shop, you not only receive that unique must have item you wanted, or gift for someone, but also help support the retail sector which is also suffering right now. You can still browse top shops in Wrocław in our shopping section and purchase online. We too have our own IYP Poland shop with all manner of items connected to tourism and Poland.
Shop Online wherever possible and support small businesses in your city!

If you're stuck for a gift idea, hospitality vouchers make great presents; while some feel like it lacks thoughtfulness, buying a gift voucher now for a future hospitality experience can certainly go a long way. Remember - this isn't a doomsday scenario: things will get better and those vouchers are valid for quite a while! Following this step, when the rapture of a Coronavirus-free earth begins, remember to drop a subtle reminder on your friend/loved-one that it's time to celebrate somewhere with a certain card that someone has somewhere in their wallet...

8) Stay informed

Here, we are talking about a trusted source like the World Health Organisation (WHO) or the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, not a Conspiracy-Theorist vlogger who thinks Bill Gates manufactured the whole scheme. In our daily updated article on the Coronavirus Epidemic in Wrocław, we source our health information from the Polish Ministry of Health, who are subject to the standards of WHO

Lastly, try not to Panic

Seriously, don't do it... you're really annoying when you panic. I'd prefer not to see your dumb, irrational comment on a Facebook Newsfeed because you lost control. You know this will end eventually and the sooner you start following health guidelines set in place, annoying as they may be, the sooner you will be safe, free of Coronavirus and sitting on a beach, mountain-top or café of your favourite travel destination!


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