Working from home, self-quarantining, canceling sporting events and social distancing may help slow down the coronavirus, however, it also threatens to hurt small businesses. Despite the negative effects, there are ways that individuals can help their favorite struggling small businesses through the crisis.
Purchasing gift cards
According to Amanda Ballantyne, national director of The Main Street Alliance, buying a gift card to your favorite shop, theater or restaurant is an immediate way of helping business.
“I just bought gift cards to every one of the [local] restaurants that I love. They get their cash today. And I’ll be able to use it later.”
Shopping locally online
In Seattle, Molly Moon runs several ice cream shops that have already been hard hit by a coronavirus. She encourages healthy customers running errands to “stock up on pints for the hard times.” Moon invites customers staying home to buy gift cards and store merchandise on her company website.
According to Abigail Ellman, when it comes to shopping locally, health guidance from the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control “is literally disrupting business as usual”. Ellman is a director at the Cooper Square Committee, a nonprofit working to prevent the displacement of residents and small businesses on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
Ellman noted that right now businesses are concerned with making rent and paying payroll. Customers alone aren’t able to cure that strain, but she said “they need you to shop there. Support your local pharmacies and restaurants and businesses.”
A craft beer restaurant called Taproom No. 307, in New York City, is usually packed on Friday nights and St. Patrick’s Day but is now slow. Co-owner Roberta Souza is encouraging customers to stay home and offering a 20% discount on takeout.
In Seattle’s Chinatown, restaurants are offering different types of deals.
Some restaurants are offering incentives for first-time order deliveries through services like Uber Eats and Postmates, they’re also offering curbside pickup for takeout orders. Helping neighboring businesses, some restaurants in Chinatown are offering a 20% discount to customers who show them a receipt from their purchases at another small business.
Many independent restaurants and food businesses that didn’t offer delivery are now getting on to delivery platforms like Uber Eats or Postmates.
Dr. Robyn Gershon, an epidemiology professor at New York University’s School of Public Health recommends that if your sick, in a self-quarantine or elderly and at risk, you can use your credit card to pay over the phone, including the tip for the delivery person, and ask them to leave the bag of food outside your door. “But if you are fine and not in a 14-day quarantine, there’s no reason not to open your door and hand the delivery person a tip.”
Tip a little extra
If you are leaving a tip, consider being a little extra generous for the business and delivery people, due to lowered income from the crisis.
Leaving a bigger tip may not directly contribute to a restaurant’s bottom line, however it does help. It helps others by contributing to the spirit of goodwill and appreciation in the community, which can help with everyone’s mood.
With different small businesses being financially affected by the coronavirus pandemic, here are some ways to help them out.
Author Bio: Michael Hollis is a Detroit native who now lives in Los Angeles. He is an account executive who has helped hundreds of business owners with their corona relief loan solutions. He’s experimented with various occupations: computer programming, dog-training, scientificating… But his favorite job is the one he’s now doing full time — providing business funding for hard-working business owners across the country.