The days of entering your favorite local business without worry to have a chat and a waltz around seem distant. For those business that have kept their heads above water during the coronavirus pandemic, their operations are likely different than they were back in 2019. Even as some regulations have eased, the surge of the Omicron variant has marked a return to masks and social distancing in some areas. However, supporting your favorite local businesses doesn’t have to mean putting yourself at risk.
There are plenty of ways to help out local businesses while maintaining social distancing guidelines:
One of the simplest ways to support local businesses right now is to buy from them. Instead of heading to chains or big box stores for your purchasing needs, see what local businesses in your area have. Check up on their safety regulations and modes of service online or give them a call and see whether they’re open to in-person customers and/or if they’re providing curbside service. You’ll find that these businesses are more than willing to make your shopping experience as convenient and safe as possible.
Many local businesses have up-to-date online shops available so you can purchase their goods and services from the comfort of your home. You may be able to get things delivered right to you, or you can simply buy remotely and set a time for contactless pickup or curbside delivery.
While many local restaurants are now offering dine-in services, many also offer takeout options for those at-risk or if you're simply more comfortable eating at home. This is a main source of revenue for restaurants, which makes it a powerful way to support local businesses while staying safe. Have a look at online menus of restaurants in your area and either order online or call in for a safe dining experience.
Buy Gift Cards.
Most restaurants, stores, and other local businesses alike offer gift cards, so if you’re not quite ready to shop in-store or dine-in, purchasing a gift card over the phone is a great way to keep businesses going during the pandemic. If there’s a special local place where you’d normally be spending date night, buying a gift certificate is a great way to support them in the present and cover your night out in the future. You could also purchase a gift card from a business offering in-store/dine-in services for a friend or relative comfortable using it.
Write Positive Reviews.
A powerful way to help local businesses is by writing positive reviews on their website and places like Yelp, Google, and Facebook. These are where many prospective customers come to consider giving their business, so genuine, positive reviews go a long way.
Don’t Use Cash.
If you’re supporting local businesses in-store, avoid using cash if possible. Money carries a lot of bacteria and traces of everyone who has touched it, which is best to avoid during a pandemic. Instead, use a credit/debit card, Apple Pay, or pay ahead of time over the phone or online if possible.
Use Social Media.
A great way to support local businesses is to follow their social media pages. Like, comment, and share their posts as much as possible and keep your eye out for any important information about how to further support them. This is where your favorite local businesses will update you on events and fundraisers such as charity golf tournaments and food drives to keep you in the loop as to how you can show your support for them, as well as for your community. You can also help by tagging them in your own posts featuring their products. For example, if you grab a bite from a local restaurant, take a photo of your meal, tag the restaurant and let your followers know how yummy it is! Those types of posts go a long way because they’re personal and genuine.