6 Ways to Support Small Businesses During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Over this past week and weekend, we saw more and more states and cities order bars and restaurants to limit their operations to carry-out, pick up, or even delivery options. All of this is an effort to enforce more social distancing in an effort to combat the ongoing widespread Coronavirus pandemic.

Right now, most local businesses are already feeling the effect of these restrictions. Many restaurants have already closed for the time being, while many others have had to temporarily lay off part of their staff. During this time it is especially crucial to support the local and small businesses in your cities and towns as a lot of these places are the backbone for our communities.

1. Buy a gift card 
What businesses need right now is cash flow. One of the easiest ways to do this right now is to buy gift cards that you can use at some point down the line. The great thing with gift cards is that you can use them for yourself. Or even better, you can treat someone else like a friend, relative, or even a co-worker with a gift card. Many places like nail salons, yoga and massage studios, and coffee shops have options for purchasing gift cards. During this time I know it’s hard to think about, especially given the fact that a lot of events and sports have already been canceled. However, birthdays, anniversaries, Mothers Day, and even Fathers Day are still going to happen. Purchasing gift cards will help the business keep money flowing during this period.

2. Get delivery, pick-up, or carry-out.
Right now it may not be the best idea to go into your favorite restaurant to have a sit-down meal or sit down at the local coffee shop for the afternoon. The great thing is that many restaurants have stepped up options for delivery, or even curbside pick-up. One of the great ways to support places like bars and restaurants right now is to try to budget to buy one or two meals a week from these local businesses.

3. Shop online
A lot of local businesses may actually have a fair amount of inventory available online. Check-in with them to see if they have an online store with inventory that you can purchase. This is great in helping to support local boutiques. Local coffee roasters. Or even your local grocery store. It’s also a great opportunity to grab that dress you’ve been eyeing. Or even that book that your mom wants for her birthday. Or even that purse that would make a great gift for a friend or relative.

4. Schedule an appointment
Right now even plumbers, electricians, and dentists are struggling. What can be really helpful for them right now is if you make an appointment with them for the future. It will not only help them in the long run, but it will keep their spirits up knowing that they have upcoming work to look forward to. 

5. Tip, tip, tip!
It’s a crappy time for a lot of people right now. More so for waiters, delivery drivers, baristas, and cashiers. Not only are they most likely working fewer hours, but they’re also getting fewer tips. If you do get food from a restaurant or bar, be extra generous on the wait staff and delivery people, as well as being a little more patient with them. A bigger tip will not only help employees but continue to keep the spirit of goodwill and thankfulness in the community. It can also be just the thing to make someone’s day right now.

6. Try to limit using cash
During this time it is advised to use credit cards and/or debit cards whenever possible. Cash and coins get touched and passed through many hands on a daily basis. During this time businesses would appreciate keeping their employees as healthy as possible. Whenever you can, try to use your credit and debit cards primarily during this time. 

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