The Importance of Supporting Small Businesses
Across the country, small businesses like restaurants, bars, coffee shops, barber and beauty shops, retail stores and more have been closing their doors in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Federal and state governments are working frantically to find methods to slow the spread of COVID-19 to help reduce the number of individuals affected. In many states, this means implementing social distancing, a practice of preventing sick people from coming into contact with healthy people to reduce transmitting the virus. Small businesses have been ordered by state and local governments to shut down as a means of reducing the number of people interacting with each other daily.
This is also known as “flattening the curve,” a term used to describe the success social distancing can have on reducing the influx in infected individuals who could overwhelm the healthcare system. Closing public places, canceling large events, and only allowing groups of 10 at a time to congregate in any one area are all examples of social distancing in the time of the coronavirus crisis.
To many small businesses, this means losing the customers who keep them afloat by buying their products or services throughout the year. These small businesses are a vital part of the U.S. economy, keeping money in the local communities and increasing the value of the local real estate. If the coronavirus pandemic causes them to close their doors for good, the entire country will feel the impact for many months, if not years, to come.
How to Support Small Businesses in the Time of Social Distancing
- Shop local – online. Online shopping is convenient and can be done right from the comfort of your couch! While going through mega-retailers like Amazon might be your go-to, for now, change it up and buy items online from shops in your local community. Most, if not all, small business retailers have websites offering their products with a click of your mouse that can be delivered right to your door, so you’ll never have to worry about running low on your favorite items.
- Purchase gift cards. Establishments like bars and restaurants who were forced to close will be suffering right now, with no patrons filling the barstools or booths. Consider buying gift cards for the businesses you visit most often to use later when they are officially up and running again.
- Order takeout. Can’t wait until you can eat your favorite meals from your favorite local restaurants? Many are keeping things going by offering meals to go, and some are even providing free delivery. This is a great way to keep money going into the local community, and as a bonus, you still get to enjoy all your favorite dishes.
- Increase the tip amount. Don’t forget, servers and delivery people will also be feeling the decrease in business, and many of them survive on the tips they’re now missing. If you’re ordering takeout or delivery, consider giving a little more than usual when tipping. The tip may not go right back to the restaurant, but it goes to the workers who can put it towards the essentials they may need during this slower time.
- Practice patience. We’re all in this together. Don’t forget that many small businesses are most likely working with a skeleton staff, so you might have to wait a little longer for your delivery to arrive or for items to become available to purchase.
Federal and state governments have been working to reduce the economic disruption the coronavirus outbreak has caused, and the Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering low interest disaster loans to businesses of all sizes. In the meantime, there are things you can do to help keep your favorite small businesses from closing permanently after the COVID-19 crisis is under control. Five easy things you can do to support small businesses include: