For small business owners suddenly forced to temporarily halt or drastically alter their operations, support from the community can be the difference between surviving the coronavirus crisis and closing their doors forever.
Here are a few ways you can help to ensure that your favorite small businesses are still around when the pandemic subsides.
Buy a gift card
If you’re conflicted about ordering non-essential goods at the moment, gift cards of any amount are great for later use or for gifts.
By purchasing a gift card – even if it’s just $15 – you immediately inject cash into your go-to gift shop or favorite restaurant and give them the vote of confidence they need to endure these trying times.
Shop local, but online
Many small businesses have online shops in addition to their brick-and-mortar locations. Whenever possible, consider giving them your business.
Even if it’s an online transaction, as long as you are buying from someone in your community, you're helping to keep people in their jobs.
Your favorite restaurants may have had to shut their doors, but a number of them are still offering takeout or delivery services.
Order food from locally-owned, non-chain restaurants that still provide these services. You may also consider asking restaurants if they'll sell perishable items that they have in stock but that might no longer be available at grocery stores or online retailers. Don’t forget to tip when you pick up your food!
Contribute to a GoFundMe campaign
Donate to an online fundraiser or perhaps even starting one on behalf of a business whose sales have been wiped out.
Take a virtual fitness class
Fitness centers worldwide have temporarily closed to contain COVID-19, but may of gyms and/or fitness instructors are streaming workouts online that you can join from home. Many of these are free, but consider making a donation to help out.
Stay home if you’re sick
If you feel sick, avoid putting others at risk by staying home and using delivery services for things you need. Even if you don’t feel sick, you could still be carrying the virus unknowingly; use a mask or homemade face covering to avoid spreading the virus when out running essential errands.
Many of the small businesses in your community are working hard to get through this challenging time. The last thing they need is for their workers to get sick because a patron went out when they shouldn't have.
Say "thank you"
When you do go out for essential errands, remember to show your appreciation to the employees who are hard at work stocking shelves, cooking meals and manning check outs.
It can be easy to forget that many of these people are working overtime – not to mention putting their own health at risk – to keep their store clean and stocked with the food and supplies customers need. A simple "thank you" certainly goes a long way to spreading a bit of gratitude.
Stay safe out there, y'all, and remember that we can get through this together.