Ukrainian refugees open restaurant in Bigauņciems, Latvia

Two months after arrival in Latvia, war refugees from Severodonetsk opened a restaurant in Latvia, Tukums municipality. It has not been easy to start a business in Latvia, as the expectations of state aid were not fulfilled, Vidzeme regional television reported July 15.

In Ukraine, the owners of the restaurant had a multisectoral company whose main activity was freight and construction. But when they arrived in Latvia with their family members, they decided to start everything over. On June 10, they opened a restaurant in Bigauņciems in place of a cafe which did not survive the pandemic.

“It was a collective decision. It was like a brainstorm of looking for what to do, but this option turned out ideal, ” said the administrator of the Sho restaurant Olha Shkurho.

Of the nine employees in the restaurant, only the cook works in his original profession, and the others are determined to do everything to make the project successful.

Nadezhda Klyukina worked as a math teacher in Ukraine, but now she's an assistant cook. “We didn't have much choice. I wanted to support our own people, and didn't want to sit without work. I remember the first portion: my hands were trembling, but we weighed everything in grams. We were very concerned that the customers are satisfied to make things work,” Nadezhda said.

Each had given as much as they had for the purchase of the inventory. It hasn't been easy to get started.

“When we came here, we tried to turn to the government,[..] with a proposal to give the business tax holidays for three or six months. Let us pay after we stand on our feet,” Olha Shkurho said.

However, the law does not provide for exceptions to such cases. “Everyone in this country shall open up their economic activities and, subject to legislation, shall pay taxes within the time limits, by submitting the same reports. All the same,” said Kristīne Augstkalne, spokeswoman for the State Revenue Service.

According to information collected by the VID, currently, 93 Ukrainian civilians have started economic activity in Latvia, while 5611 Ukrainians have found work in one of 2183 Latvian companies.

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