It is an utterly eerie sight looking down our city streets. Once bustling with happy diners, shoppers and bar hoppers, the empty sidewalks at both night and day are a grim reminder of just how much impact this virus outbreak is having on all our lives.
But life must go on. We still must eat. We still must clean. We still must entertain ourselves and our children. In other words, we still must buy the essentials, and even non-essentials, to make living possible and tolerable during these difficult times.
The instinct for many during this health scare may be to use the modern convenience of ordering products online from places like Amazon and Walmart. Or perhaps, it is to rush to big box stores like Costco or Target for essentials. Those are great choices for some items. But when it’s possible, residents should consider the impact supporting locally-owned businesses during this time will have.
According to JP Morgan Chase, 99% of all businesses in the U.S. are small businesses and 48% of all people are employed by small businesses. And this crisis is going to affect them in a much more severe way that it will multi-national conglomerates.
Of course, safety is of paramount concern and no one should be ignoring CDC guidelines or the recommendations of state and county health officials — it is their guidance we need at this time to insure that the virus does as little harm to our vulnerable populations as possible.
But there are ways to support local businesses who are feeling more than just a pinch from this economic inactivity.
- Order food/beverage delivery from delivery services like GrubHub, DoorDash, Postmates, etc.
The San Diego region is full of delicious dining options – it’s one of the perks of being a vacation destination. And many of our local restaurants are struggling right now, but are remaining open in whatever way they can to serve their customers and take care of their staff.
Since all restaurants in the county have been mandated to only offer delivery or take-out at this time, patronizing in this way is the only source of income they will see to pay bills and employees. Most restaurants these are partnered with mobile delivery services and would love to have your business. You can use websites like Yelp! for information on what delivery services each restaurant uses.
- Purchase gift cards. Many businesses offer gift cards, and purchasing them is a great way to help your favorite businesses maintain some cash flow right now when they need it most — and as as bonus, you’ll have a shopping/dining visit to look forward to later or you can give them as gifts.
- Shop online. Many retailers throughout the county have online stores where you can shop from the comfort of your own home. Many are even offering free or discounted shipping, delivery, and in-store/curbside pickup to make your experience as safe and easy as possible.
- Share on social media. Local retailers are struggling to get the word out that they are open for business. Visit your favorite business’ social media pages and share their posts to help spread the word that they are open for business, and any current specials they have to support their customers.
Of coarse, in these rapidly changing circumstances, these suggestions may change or become obsolete. But remember: When this crisis passes, we will want and need our local businesses to get life to return to normal. So shop local.