SMALL businesses around Swindon and Wiltshire have struggled to cope during the coronavirus crisis.

But a Chinese restaurant in Royal Wootton Bassett is rising to the challenge with a number of changes.

James Huyhn is the owner of Oriental Aroma, which has opened in the High Street im 2006. He has launched a collection and takeaway service – and is throwing in some essential items for his customers.

He closed at the beginning of March after bookings dried up as the virus began to spread in the UK.

James told the Adver: “As a business the effect has been quite bad. After the prime minister announced the lockdown, we had no choice but to close.”

If the restaurant was to close for good, 15 staff members would have lost their jobs.

But seven were put on furlough, with James paying them out of his own savings until the government’s scheme kicks in.

He said: “It’s been hard having to pay for their wages out of my own money but we’re supposed to get the grants in a couple of months.

"I can imagine all of the small businesses are struggling. I feel bad for them, I think a lot of them won’t ever open again.

“Initially we were going to close the operation altogether, my staff would have lost their jobs and so it was a painful decision.

"I decided to start a collection and a takeaway service.”

Bread, pasta, antibacterial spray and wipes are among the items James is able to offer.

And he is providing a few freebies, including veggie boxes to the first caller of the day.

He said: “People have struggled to get their essentials so I thought 'why not offer these items to customers, this can help them avoid leaving the house'.

“The only way my business was going to keep going is if I stayed open in some sort of way.”

He will be working with Terry’s Taxis after owner Terry Fewins volunteered to help Oriental Aroma deliver food to customers.

James is taking one day at a time and hopes to keep the restaurant open.

He told the Adver: “It’s very difficult for me to say if I will be staying open and for how long.

“Our suppliers have doubled up their price and if that continues it will make things even more difficult.

“I might be forced to close. The frightening thing is this situation may last for months, so the struggle is real."