How to Support People-Powered Businesses During COVID-19
Let’s not sugarcoat it: the last few weeks have been incredibly tough. We’ve all been affected by the rapid spread of COVID-19 and the impact that our very necessary social distancing has had on the travel, restaurant, retail, and health and fitness industries across the globe.
So, other than staying home, what can we do?
We can focus on how to be there for our neighbors, our friends, and our communities. Our habits may look different—we aren't going to the gym or stopping at the cafe near the office right now—but we can still show up to support the local businesses that set the rhythm of our daily life.
Here are a few ways to help people-powered businesses that have had to shut their physical doors:
Order takeout from your favorite local restaurant, and tip as well as you can afford. (This handy guide covers takeout options in several major US cities.)
One step further: plan a takeout flash mob. Get a bunch of friends to order from the same place and wave to each other from your cars in the parking lot. (Great suggestion, Jonathan Pogact!)
Best of all: send takeout to your area hospital or care center to give hardworking medical staff a well-deserved treat. (The good folks at Slice Out Hunger make it easy to send a pie from a local pizzeria!)
Leave an online review to help boost business once life is back to normal (because it will be eventually). The most popular platforms are Yelp and Google, while some industries would love five stars on specific reservation platforms like OpenTable, ClassPass, MindBody, Thumbtack, or Angie’s List. (If you aren’t sure, skip to the next tip and ask!)
Follow and engage with your local brands’ social media accounts. You’ll stay in the know about any special remote offerings or promotions, and when you like or share, you’ll help spread the word to others in your network.
If you know of local businesses offering takeout or delivery services, share the news on your local Nextdoor neighborhood app. (Thanks for the idea, Amy Chan!)
Send your self-quarantined grandmother or immunosuppressed friend a small gift from your favorite boutique’s online store.
Buy a gift certificate to use in the future for your favorite restaurant, salon, or bed-and-breakfast.
Better yet, donate a few $5-10 gift cards for restaurants offering take-out to your local food pantry. A gift card in a food package could be a welcome surprise. (Hat tip to Kathy Bazinet for this generous suggestion.)
Now’s the time to shop local. Stock up on coffee beans directly from your local roaster. Get your veggies from a local farm’s CSA. Buy supplies for those home repair projects you’re about to tackle from your local hardware store. (Big box grocery stores and Amazon are doing just fine.)