The coronavirus outbreak currently spreading across the country is bad for Wall Street—but it could be worse for Main Street. Many small, independently owned retailers, restaurants and the like face dwindling crowds, canceled reservations and an uncertain future. That puts millions of jobs and large sums of local investment at risk. During this period of social distancing, you can still put your money where you can’t physically go in order to support small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.
Shop Small for Essentials
Hand sanitizer, gloves and other essentials are in short supply everywhere, but small businesses still have other essentials on their shelves. Visit your local hardware store for soap and all-natural cleaning products. Stop by an independent grocery store for snacks and produce without the long lines. Before you rush out to the overcrowded and under-stocked big-box store, search for a local business with a diverse inventory and no wait.
Purchase a Gift Card
It’s understandable if you don’t want to shop or eat outside your home during the outbreak. Purchasing a gift card or certificate from your favorite local business gives you the flexibility to shop or dine later while supporting the business financially right now. This support provides much-needed investment in employees’ salaries, inventory shortages and other outbreak-related costs. If you are quarantining or self-quarantining, check to see if your favorite local business offers gift cards online or can mail you one.
Order Items for Delivery
If you are turned off by the long lines and empty shelves at the grocery store, there are still options for eating out. Local restaurants have increased their sanitation and cooking processes to ensure that food remains uncontaminated and the facility remains clean. Many restaurants have also increased their pick-up and delivery options, allowing customers to maintain their distance while still enjoying a warm, fresh meal.
Send a Token of Encouragement
Delivery isn’t just for yourself. While you keep your distance from friends and loved ones, send them a kind greeting in the form of a flower arrangement, a gift box or a sweet treat. Reach out to a local florist, gift shop or bakery to inquire about their delivery options during the outbreak. With these goodies, you can shop small while changing a loved one’s day in a big way.
Follow Along on Social Media
When you can’t leave the house, chances are you’ll turn to social media more than usual. Put that extra screen time to good use by engaging with your favorite local businesses online. Check their social media pages to read their coronavirus updates, leave them a glowing review or share their content to your followers to help them spread the word about their business. Keep the conversation and support going online to let them know you’ll be there offline once the virus subsides.