It's clear to all that the Coronavirus pandemic is going to continue causing widespread disruptions. Schools have already been closed, most events have been canceled or postponed and countries are beginning to close all in-person businesses that are not grocery stores and pharmacies.
It's also easy to see that local businesses, especially restaurants, shops, bars and cafes are going to be hit particularly hard. It's unclear how long the pandemic will go and the Surgeon General told congress it's going to get worse before it gets better which leaves a lot of people concerned.
So we've compiled a simple list of ways you can help your favorite local businesses during this uncertain time.
Buy gift cards to use for later.
This will give your local businesses a bit of cash infusion while customers are staying home. Plus it's like a fun gift to yourself once we can all safely go out and gather!
Many shops have online shops have online stores that you can still buy things from. Instead of loading up your Amazon cart maybe check out the websites of your favorite businesses instead. TIP: If your favorite shop doesn't have an online store see if they are selling things through their Instagram -- DM them if you're not sure.
This many seem counter intuitive but many local restaurants are staying open for a variety of reasons (trying to continue supporting their employees for one) but this means they need business to keep running. Now is the time to not feel guilty for ordering your food for delivery (even if it's just around the corner). TIPS: Make sure to pay online if you can and include the tip with your order. Note in "special instructions" to have the delivery person drop off the food outside the door, this helps limit the amount of contact they have with individuals to keep you and them safe.
When all of this is done, no matter how well we try to support our local businesses, they will have struggled during this time. Take this time to submit testimonials and reviews to all your favorite spots so once things are back to normal (whatever that means), more customers can find them.
Share, Follow, Link & Engage.
Similar to the one above, this is all about helping prepare local businesses to be in the best possible scenario post Coronavirus. As much as we dislike how powerful social media is, it is. Following, linking and engaging with their content is the best way for your network to learn about them. Or better yet, directly TELL your network about them. This is the perfect time to help your local business get some free organic marketing. TIP: Many small businesses use social media to update their customers regarding any changes including direct ways to help them. If you don't follow your favorite bookstore or coffee shop currently now is the time to do so!
And as always WASH YOUR HANDS and STAY INSIDE.
We know it's a broken record but really, just do it. Wash your hands more than you think is necessary for longer than you think is necessary with warmer water than you usually use. The best way to help the local economy is to make sure as few people get sick as possible and that we get this pandemic under control which means: Wash your hands and stay inside.