Right now is a challenging time for many local businesses. To try to reduce the spread of COVID-19, they have cut back hours or shut their doors completely — and rightfully so. We all have a duty to help protect the most vulnerable among us through social distancing. But, a thriving business community is a part of what makes the Gulf Coast such a special place to live, and COVID-19 has caused major disruptions to local business revenue. Just as we have a duty to help prevent the virus, we also have a duty as local citizens to help the entrepreneurs and employees losing business. Here are a few suggestions on how you can do just that.
What You Can Do To Safely Support Gulf Coast Businesses
1) Order take out or delivery from your favorite restaurant
After a few days of eating pantry food, you’re probably going to want something to eat that you didn’t prepare. Luckily for you, many of your favorite spots probably offering take-out and delivery options at this time. Take advantage of those options.
2) Buy gift cards
While you may not be able to go in person to the stores, restaurants, and entertainment you love, you can buy gift cards now that will provide business owners with cash flow.
3) Think about how you can continue in-house services
If you can afford to continue to pay for in-house services such as cleaning, laundry, dog walking, or music lessons at this time, do so. See if you can arrange to use the services later with the provider. This will help keep these independent contractors solvent and able to pay their bills, too.
4) Beauty and the tip
Many local hair salons, barbers and nail shops are closing, and most of the people you depend on to look your best are independent contractors and depend on your appointment to make their rent. Even if your appointment was canceled in the next few weeks, give an extra tip to your esthetician, hairstylist or other beauty professional to help them weather this time.
5) Shop online
While many in-person storefronts may be closed, online shops stay open 24/7. See which of your favorite local businesses offer online shopping, and patronize them that way.
6) Make it rain
Tip the service workers who you interact with over the next few weeks even more generously than usual. Most are dealing with reduced hours, income insecurity and potentially housing insecurity. Give what you can afford, and consider it an investment in our local economy.
7) Check-in on your regulars
You may not be seeing your favorite business, barista, bartender or barber over the next few weeks—but that doesn’t mean you should lose touch! Connect with them and see if there’s anything you can do to support them during this time.
8) Give some love on social media
One of the best ways you can help local businesses during COVID-19 is to share their content online—and it doesn’t cost a thing! While everyone has different financial situations and income, we can all afford to give a word of gratitude or kindness. Leaving a glowing review, share a post that resonated with you, or drop a GIF in the comments section of their latest post.
We’re all in this together. If we want the businesses we love to be around when the immediate threat of COVID-19 has passed, then we all must do what we can to support them now.