Many small businesses are seeking ways to stay afloat due to the coronavirus. Here is how you can help.
It’s impossible to turn on the news, peruse social media, or listen to the radio today without hearing public health and government officials proclaim the need for “social distancing” to help slow the spread of coronavirus. This practice is critical for protecting America’s vulnerable populations, and key to preventing the nation’s hospitals from becoming catastrophically overwhelmed. But social distancing has wreaked havoc upon many small businesses.
Americans have begun to hunker down and avoid social interactions. As a result, restaurants, bars, salons, event vendors, and many other industries have experienced sharp declines in revenue.
Though it might not seem like much in the face of such extreme economic uncertainty, many small businesses have found ways to continue to offer goods and services to people while still limiting close contact.
Here are a few ways to support small businesses during this public health crisis.
Get takeout and delivery
In many places, restaurants are still open for takeout and delivery options. Delivery services have waived commission and delivery fees in order to support independent establishments and keep gig workers going.
Adding an extra $5 or $10 to your normal tip can go a long way to helping these workers make up for lost wages. It can also serve as an important act of solidarity with some of the people who are keeping society going.
Curbside delivery allows quarantined people to continue to support their favorite mom-and-pop Thai restaurant, drink craft beer, or enjoy tacos — with a side of toilet paper — without ever leaving home.
If you order from a local joint, be sure to write a positive review or follow them on social media. It can help increase their profile and drive business their way.
In addition, ordering takeout or delivery allows consumers to support small business employees by tipping generously. Adding an extra $5 or $10 to your normal tip can go a long way to helping these workers make up for lost wages. It can also serve as an important act of solidarity with some of the people who are keeping society going.
Order from small businesses, not big retailers
Amazon’s announcement of only shipping essential items to their warehouses has provided an opportunity for Americans to support small businesses. Many independent bookstores, wine shops, craft and toy stores, and other businesses have waived shipping fees. People can use this opportunity to find books, wine, activities, clothes and personal goods to make quarantine more comfortable.
If you don’t have an immediate need for a new candle or fabulous outfit right now, consider buying a gift certificate for yourself or a friend. This gives cash to small business owners while also giving you something to look forward to once things improve.
Take virtual classes with local fitness studios
When the walls start closing in, consider checking if any local yoga studios are offering virtual classes or book a training session with a personal trainer. Some spin studios have online classes and are renting out bikes to people who want to pedal away some stress.
Follow businesses on social media
Social distancing has placed a new emphasis on the value of social media for connecting people in different locations. Businesses are using social media to inform patrons about flash sales, themed virtual events or meetups, and opportunities to help.
Posts on Instagram, Facebook, or on Nextdoor provide consumers with both entertainment and information on how they can use their income to support fellow Americans during this hardship.
Buy gifts to support loved ones and SBOs
Finally, as long as mail delivery continues, ordering from your favorite local restaurant or independent retailer and having a surprise sent to a loved one is an excellent way to remind friends, family, and SBOs how much you care.