This week’s coronavirus column comes from Gav Singh, the owner of Oysters Fish and Chips in Marlow Bottom.

The businessman has discussed how many local companies are dealing with the current pandemic and he has urged people to still use local and independent shops.

Gav said: “Coronavirus and its effects have hit our world like a devastating tsunami with ongoing repercussions changing our lives and perhaps, forever.

“I was asked how we at Oysters Fish & Chips in Marlow Bottom are dealing with it?

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“The honest answer? – We are dealing with it on a daily and weekly basis based on snippets of information whilst tentatively trying to balance our welfare.

“The feeling of uncertainty has now started to slowly dissipate but rears its ugly head when I least suspect it.

“I believed the right thing was to close and we acted immediately as the government placed us all under lockdown.

“It was suggested that food preparation businesses could remain open, however our decision was purely based on safety, that of our own and our customers.

“We have been trading in Marlow Bottom for 11 years and in that time I have married my now wife Sonia and have a son aged eight and daughter soon to be 10 (double digits are a big deal so she tells me).

“Family puts a great deal into perspective and at Oysters I consider myself fortunate to have a close-knit shop, a family of staff, and to be in a fantastic community.

“This reinforced our decision to close.

“Thankfully, we have a great relationship with our accountant who advised us all the way and we furloughed our staff.

“However, as we have a combination of ages employed the wages that we have continued to pay we still await from the Government and I would like to mention Buckinghamshire Business First who were extremely helpful in providing us with ongoing information as Wycombe Council were inundated with calls.

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“The main reason for coming back was due to the numerous calls and emails from residents, mainly the senior members of our community who are in complete lockdown as they are not allowed out and they haven’t eaten a hot meal for weeks!

“Through regular discussions with staff and liaising with suppliers, we opened but were conscious of the Government’s warning to accept card payments only.

“It’s so important to invest and develop your business and yet we only do so when our hands are forced which is why we have had to develop an app.

“It was a tentative effort believing that the community may order but knowing they rather come into the shop as we cook from fresh held us back and as of next week, we are extending our opening hours to an additional day (Wednesday).

“Slowly but surely, we are getting our customers back and looking forward to welcoming the new.

“We also have invested in bespoke protective screens across our counter and range demonstrating our determination to keep our staff and customers alike safe at all times.

“Staff are with PPE and have regular temperature checks and have been drilled on potential symptoms and necessary course of action to take.

“We feel fortunate that we are supported by such a great customer base and community.

“We may not be on a busy High Street, but tucked away in a small parade in Marlow Bottom, we are an independent award-winning fish and chip shop who cares for everyone in the community.

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“We cook freshly prepared fish and homemade chips on site every day for our local families, parents, grandparents, lone cyclist, Age Concern, Burford School - they all deserve it.

“Your contribution is saving a small local business and for that I am personally indebted to you. God Bless.”

For more information about the work Oysters Fish and Chips are doing for Bucks and in their village of Marlow Bottom, call 01628 472326.