Now, more than ever, small businesses need our support. COVID-19 has changed the way we live, work, and spend–and these changes are taking a toll on business owners and workers across the U.S. Eighty-nine percent of businesses have 20 employees or less, and the pandemic has rendered ⅓ of them non-operational.
While some economies have begun to open up after months of closures, many more are reversing openings due to an uptick in cases. Business owners have been left to navigate these changes in rules as well as establish new safety procedures with limited resources.
So what does the new normal look like? Face mask requirements are common, as are limited business hours. Consumer-facing businesses such as shops and restaurants are also prioritizing contactless payments to reduce interactions between customers and staff.
While staying home as much as possible to slow the spread is still recommended per CDC guidelines, there are ways you can help stimulate your local economy while supporting your favorite local businesses.
After all, 41% of Americans agree that locally owned shops and restaurants are their favorite neighborhood feature. These small businesses provide culture and unique flair to communities across the country and we want to help them keep their doors open despite the new challenges.
Here are ways to support small business in your area today:
- Leave cash at home: Ditch cash, which can easily be contaminated, and checkout using contactless payment methods instead. Credit and debit cards are great for this, but virtual payment methods such as Apple Wallets are also available.
- Purchase gift cards: You can invest in future purchases today using gift cards! This gets cash flowing at local businesses that are currently struggling while saving you money down the road. This is a great way to help businesses who haven’t fully reopened yet or ones you don’t feel comfortable visiting at this time.
- Write an online review: Even if you don’t have cash to support your favorite business today, you can still gift them a good review for free online! Encourage online users to visit a restaurant or shop by leaving them a 5 star review. Include what makes this business unique, as well as steps the business is taking to serve customers safely during this time.
- Monitor your symptoms: While helping stimulate the economy is important right now, you should only venture out to do so if you feel well. Monitor your symptoms daily by taking your temperature and watching out for common symptoms of COVID-19. The worst thing you could do is venture out to your favorite local business while sick and cause them to shut down.
- Register for online classes: Have a favorite fitness class or art workshop? While traditionally these classes are done in person, many are adjusting their business models for online, at least temporarily. Don’t knock a virtual session before you try it: sign up online and see what you think!