What can you do to support small businesses during COVID-19?
Social distancing, forced restaurant closings, and travel bans. These situations are ones we didn’t even imagine weeks ago but are now widespread realities. And they are taking a major toll on small businesses across the country. Luckily, we are not powerless to help! There are things we can do to support small businesses and help keep them afloat during the coronavirus outbreak.
If you are not sure how your favorite small businesses are getting creative during COVID-19, check their website or Facebook page for updates (and make sure to leave a positive review while you are there)! Above all, be patient. Small businesses everywhere are learning how to adjust rapidly during these unprecedented situations. We’re all in this together!
Here are 8 types of small businesses that are getting hit hard by the coronavirus and how you can support them.
1. Travel advisors and trip planners
Travel professionals were some of the first to be hit with the economic shock of coronavirus. Days and even weeks before restaurants closed and toilet paper became a scarce commodity, travel advisors were already feeling the effects. Then trip cancellations hit the travel industry like a tsunami. Many travel advisors are still deep in the trenches of working to get their travelers refunded or protected on new flights. If this is you, know that your travel advisor is advocating hard on your behalf, working behind the scenes with airlines, hotels, resorts and other suppliers to assist you. Many airlines are offering lenient change policies to allow you to rebook your trip for a later time. If the option is there, consider postponing rather than canceling.
If you know you want to plan a vacation later in the year, consider making a reservation now. Your travel advisor can help you find flights and accommodations that offer flexibility should you need to make a change later.
2. Museums, zoos, and local attractions
With stringent social distancing recommendations in place, museums, zoos, and other local attractions are struggling with sudden revenue losses. Sign your family up for a membership or a gift card to gift to a friend or use in the future.
3. Local restaurants and coffee shops
Restaurants and coffee shops everywhere are making their menu items available to order and pick up curbside. Order pick up for a nice “date night in” or a movie night with your family. Some nicer sit-down restaurants are even putting together meal kits you can take home and cook. This is a great option to help supplement your groceries when you can’t find everything you need at the grocery store.
4. Yoga, Zumba, pilates, other fitness-based classes
Small business owners who specialize in fitness instruction such as yoga, Zumba, and pilates depend on the ability to meet with their class to earn an income. Since meeting in person is no longer an option, many fitness instructors are figuring out how to adapt and offer virtual classes. You can support them by enrolling where virtual options are available and enjoy the fun of working out “in a group” even while you are stuck at home.
5. Pottery, painting, and art studios
Does your family enjoy a night out painting or doing pottery together? Help out a local art studio near you! Small art studios are adapting to social distancing by offering “art kits” you can pick up curbside and take home. This is a wonderful way to support a local business and keep your kids entertained during an extended time at home.
6. Local churches and nonprofits
Don’t forget that nonprofits depend on the generosity of supporters in order to bring aid and relief to those who need it most. Nonprofits and churches are also feeling the effects of social distancing. Many churches are shifting to online services, and many weekly contributors may not realize they can still give electronically. Nonprofits that provide critical assistance may be in need of extra help or donations as they continue to serve communities affected by the coronavirus. Continue to make donations to your favorite nonprofit organizations.
7. Local theaters, musicians, and other live performers
Local musicians and other performers are facing the reality of canceling weeks or even months of events. You can help by purchasing tickets to any events they have scheduled for later in the year or see if they might be planning a “virtual concert.” Check out their website to see if they sell merchandise as well!
8. Wellness and beauty industry
Small wellness clinics, spas, beauticians and other salons are suffering due to social distancing. Many of these professionals are self-employed with no sick time. Taking weeks off from work presents a huge challenge. Do your favorite health and beauty businesses sell products in addition to services? If you need to buy vitamins, supplements, or beauty products, see if there is a way to shop online or arrange a pickup/drop off. They will probably be more than willing to make a flexible arrangement for you!