It’s been an unprecedented year around the world and one that peaked in Northern California recently as the Coronavirus (Covid-19) is spreading into the different local communities. As a precaution, Governor Gavin Newsom and President Trump have announced guidelines to help slow the spread of the virus, including the suggestion that bars and wineries should suspend operations. With these guidelines, local businesses like restaurants and bars, many of which are already working in slim margins, will have to find ways to stay alive in financially uncertain times.
Based on all the information by scientists, healthcare workers and government officials, social distancing is the best way to avoid the rapid spread of the Coronavirus. “Flattening the curve” will limit the activity at hospitals, allowing for more resources to aid each individual patient and help save lives. While this will certainly hit the pocketbooks of every local business (and worldwide for that matter), it’s a necessary evil to ensure the health of our most susceptible citizens.
So how can we help keep our favorite and crucial local businesses afloat as they deal with this pandemic? Here are four ideas to help:
Grocery Shop Local
We can all probably save a buck by shopping up on crucial home items at Big Box stores, but that doesn’t do much for our local economy. Using local grocery stores and buying local products and produce will help mitigate the financial issues seen by NorCal producers. Go to you local mom and pop grocery store and buy local fruits and veggies. Get a six pack from a local brewer. Try a new bottle of wine from a local winery. Try that local bag of beef jerky you’ve noticed on the shelf. Try those coffee beans from the local roaster.
Sure, this practice is a little more expensive than the bigger stores, but it could help out the local economy immensely. All local businesses will see some sort off financial burden due to this crisis. Let’s dip into our pocketbooks to help keep our local businesses open, in a safe and healthy way.
As most local restaurants and watering holes close, limit operation times and cut employee hours under the guidance of scientists and government officials, most are still offering to-go orders. This also goes for craft brewers, most of whom are offering drive-up service for growler refills and six-packs.
While dining in is an important aspect to all restaurants, it’s also a little irresponsible right now. Many NorCal restaurants and bars have closed at the guidance of government officials, but some have remained open because, well, they probably have to. Local establishments sometimes live in small margins, and closing for a month or two could mean their eventual demise. Choose your favorite two or three restaurants and bars and order their food to-go. You can do this by calling in or some even offer ordering on their website. If you don’t feel comfortable going inside, ask them to deliver to your car.
The unfortunate reality of this crisis is we may lose some local businesses who simply can’t stay afloat. Remember that when you’re looking for a meal or a drink.
Although some local businesses are probably already in the practice of delivery through their storefronts or website, many will probably use an app to deliver meals to the local community. These are crucial to helping local businesses stay afloat right now. You can download the app and easily order your favorite menu items from the comfort of your home. If you don’t feel comfortable having a person hand you your food, simply mark a note in the app to ring the doorbell and leave the food on your porch.
Here are four of the best delivery apps (which should include most of your favorite local restaurants) which you can simply download on your phone and pay with your credit card:
Even if you choose to cook your meals at home, you can still support your local establishments during this time of need. Instead of conducting your usual business with these restaurants, bars and retail shops, you can help ease the financial burden and increase cash-flows for these small business owners by purchasing gift cards to use in the future.
Commit to local business today by buying your meals, drinks or products in advance while they’re struggling. These can also make for great gifts in the future. One great example of this practice is your hairdresser/barber, who will see significant drop in their business over the coming months. But as this passes, we will all need haircuts, right? Help pay their bills today with gift cards.
Tip a Little More
One of the hardest-hit demographic during this crisis is our neighbors in the service community. Their hours are getting cut, or might be eliminated all-together. Every dollar counts as they could be going months without a steady paycheck.
When you do get your to-go orders, deliveries and gift cards, be sure to leave a tip that you can proudly say supports your local community. Every little bit helps and you may be paying for someone’s rent, diapers or, dare I say it, toilet paper.
In time, this will pass and we will be left picking up the pieces of a global pandemic that will certainly hit local businesses hard. Let’s do our best today to help alleviate future problems and maybe keep your favorite local businesses alive to flourish in the future.
Northern California’s Outdoor Digital Newsmagazine