Saying times are weird right now might be the understatement of 2020, but it really is new, uncharted waters out there thanks to the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. A lot of cities – and some entire countries – are on some form of lock-down, and while that might seem scary, it’s a pro-active measure to keep as many people safe as possible.
But while we’re doing our best social distancing, there are still local shops and businesses that are open, even if it’s at a reduced capacity. The Canadian economy as a whole has and will definitely take a hit, but it’s the independently-owned local businesses and their staff who are struggling the most. Many of the gyms, yoga studios, bars, restaurants, and wellness centres (like spas or massage therapy clinics) have all but shut their doors indefinitely.
10 Ways to Continue to Support Local Businesses Today
Fortunately, there are still ways to practice social distancing and support local businesses. Here are our top 10:
Order Take-Out or Delivery
Many restaurants, bars, and cafes have had to close their dining sections, but are still open for take-out or delivery options. Using an app to order and pay ahead of time can help minimize risks even more by eliminating the need for money to exchange hands.
Purchase a Gift Card
Birthdays, holidays, and special occasions will still happen this year. Why not order that gift card for that special someone now? Many shops are set-up to allow the purchase of gift cards online, so there’s no need to leave home.
Book in Advance
Though not mandated to close (yet), many spas, clinics, and treatment centres are experiencing cancellations left, right, and centre. If you cancel an appointment, why not reschedule it for next month? If you don’t have one booked, go ahead and treat yourself to a service – many online booking calendars are still open and taking bookings after we get through the next few weeks.
What better time than now to order that painting you’ve been wanting for the living room wall? Many local artists have paintings, sculptures, or other pieces available for purchase, or take commissions. Reach out to your favourite local artist to see if they have what you’ve been looking for.
Sign-up for Online Classes
Many gyms, yoga studios, and fitness centers are offering live-streamed workouts you can do at home. If there is a paid option available and you have the means, opting for this service versus a free video can make all the difference in helping them keep their doors open.
Purchase Services Still Being Offered
Online service-based businesses are often still operating Business as Usual! Take advantage of the services they offer now while you have some downtime. If you’ve been wanting to learn more about a topic, now’s a great opportunity to go ahead and sign-up for that online course!
Leave Google and Facebook Reviews
Today’s consumer puts a lot of weight into online reviews from previous customers when deciding whether or not to make a purchase. If you’ve visited or purchased from a local business and were happy with the service, leave them a review! It really does go a long way to support local businesses.
Buy Groceries from Local Shops
One of the few things we’re leaving home for is to stock up on groceries. Instead of buying from chain stores, consider heading to a small mom + pop shop if there is one in your neighbourhood.
Do Your Birthday Shopping Now
Many product-based businesses offer online shopping already! Why not spend some time browsing through their online stores and check off all of the birthdays you have coming up in the next few months. If you’re really ambitious, you could even get your Christmas shopping started!
Share on Social Media
When you’re scrolling through Instagram or Facebook later, hit that Like button and share their posts. It’s a small act that builds awareness about your favourite local shops, and will help everything return to a sense of normalcy when this all passes.
What are some of your favourite ways to support local businesses? Is there a tip we missed? Share it with us in the comments! And in the meantime, stay safe and healthy out there, friends! And salute small businesses in your own way too!