The country is facing an unprecedented challenge as COVID-19 sweeps the globe, with more people falling ill with the deadly virus every day and many businesses being forced to close or limit services in an effort to maintain community safety by stopping the spread of the virus.
With these closures, the economic challenges are already on the horizon, with experts reporting that it could take year(s) for the economy to fully recover. To help mitigate the virus’ financial destruction, many community members are looking for ways they can better support the economy, and especially their local businesses, in response.
To aid in your efforts, and in an effort of our own to deliver positivity and action-oriented solutions, we’ve compiled a list of ways you can boost your community during this frightening events, with your money, time and attitude.
Buy gift cards for your favorite local businesses to use later
One of the easiest ways to safely support your favorite small, local or even large-scale businesses is to provide them with the cash flow they need to continue paying employees and maintaining overhead costs by purchasing gift cards. Plus, you know you’ll be needing the business’ services or goods later – so it’s like paying yourself ahead of time. In most cases, you can quickly stop by your favorite restaurant, salon, coffee shop or boutique to get the gift card, or many businesses are now allowing gift cards to be purchased online so you can continue social distancing. Just make sure to sanitize your hands and the card for extra safety!
Take advantage of carry-out and delivery options from your local restaurants
Restaurants are one of the industries that are expected to be most affected by the virus, with many of them already having to make the difficult decision to reduce employee hours due to statewide recommendations that they close their dining rooms as spending an extended period of time sitting in public is increasingly dangerous as the virus continues to spread. Instead, consider saving the frozen food you’ve no doubt stocked up on for the quarantine and order your meals through either delivery or carry out from your favorite local restaurant. Even if your favorites didn’t previously offer this option, it’s worthwhile to check now through their websites and social media as many eateries are signing up for more delivery platforms and expanding to-go services to better serve the community during the pandemic.
Shop online for yourself, friends and those in need
With the free time you’ve gained from social distancing, no commute thanks to work from home protocol and the cancelation of March Madness (and basically all other events), we recommend perusing the internet for your next great online purchase – specifically from a small or local business that will undoubtedly be hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
Not sure you need anything? Ship something to a friend who might be struggling with fear brought on by the pandemic or who might be seeing their hours cut in response to a scale-back in business. This is also a great time to purchase items to donate to local charities. Check ahead of time to see if you can ship directly to their offices for increased safety.
Leave positive reviews for your favorite businesses
Take advantage of any extra free time by leaving positive Yelp, Google and Facebook reviews for your favorite small businesses. This can help boost their foot traffic once life returns to normal and might provide encouragement to small business owners when they could use it most.
Be kind to retail workers, restaurant hosts and all those in the service industry
While many of us are afforded the luxury of working from home (even when it feels more like isolation than a luxury) to avoid the spread of the virus, there are still many people working for the betterment of the community in doctor’s offices, hospitals, restaurants, grocery stores, pharmacies and more. During this time, when many are understandably stressed, a bit of extra kindness can go a long way. Smile, do your best to be patient and offer a nice word when possible.
Try online versions of your usual services
Yoga studio or gym closed? No problem! Sign up for digital classes to keep your mind and body strong during long days at home. Not only will it help keep up your strength, many programs are being provided through smaller studios that need your support most. The same can go for several other industries too – use social media to see what small businesses near you are doing to stay creative and support by signing up.
Participate in virtual fundraisers and auctions to support local nonprofits
Spring is a popular time for Arizona nonprofits to hold galas and other fundraising events, but unfortunately many have been forced to cancel or postpone their events – limiting crucial cash flow to organizations providing essential community services that will be even more necessary as the virus spreads. To help combat the lack of event income, see if any organizations you support are hosting online fundraisers or auctions you can participate in from the comfort of your home.
Tip more than usual when you can
With social distancing and state-recommended business closures in full-effect, those who work in the service industry – from hospitality to restaurants to beauty – are seeing a decrease in hours and in some cases pay. Tipping a little extra where you can is one way to help decrease the burden on these workers and do your part to help push the economy forward.
Use common sense tactics to promote safety and stop the spread of the virus
The federal government discourages gatherings of 10 or more, and most experts are advising everyone to stay home as much as possible, but if you do have to go out, use your best judgement in preventing the spread of germs to keep yourself and those around you safe. Wash your hands thoroughly, limit physical contact and when possible, use debit or credit instead of cash as it’s harder to spread germs through.