While Americans nationwide practice social distancing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, small business owners are worried about the future of their establishments. Following are some steps you can take to support your favorite local businesses during this time.

  1. Order carry-out or delivery

    Dining in isn’t an option for many restaurants and patrons but carry-out and delivery are still a great option. Connect with your favorite eatery and skip cooking dinner in favor of a meal made by a local restaurant.

  2. Shop online

    This isn’t a new concept, but maybe it’s time to update your shopping habits with a few new vendors. While not all local boutiques or stores offer online shopping, many do and many more are finding new ways to engage with their customers online. Check out the social media channels of your favorite small businesses and find out how you can continue to shop local while practicing social distancing.

  3. Connect on social media

    Many small businesses, including gym and athletic clubs, have ramped up their social media presence. Find your favorite local hangs on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and you’ll likely learn that they’re still connecting with their patrons digitally.

  4. Take advantage of discounts

    Many small businesses are offering discounts or coupons to patrons who place takeout orders or shop online. Find out what the local businesses in your area are doing to drive business and take advantage of these discounts and then tell your friends, too!

  5. Buy a gift card

    Consider purchasing a gift card to a boutique or coffee shop you love now and plan to use it at later date or give it to a friend or family member as a gift. This is a great way to help small businesses receive some income now, when they need it most.

  6. Up your tip

    If you order takeout or delivery and you’re able, consider being a little extra generous on the tip you leave for wait staff and delivery people. While a bigger tip might not hit the bottom line, it will help those in your community who are working hard during this time.

  7. Continue paying for services, if you can

    Some of the hardest hit businesses are those in the service industry – dog walkers, house cleaners, landscapers, and more. While the recommendation is that we practice social distancing, it can be hard on those who work in this type of industry. If you have a house cleaning service or a small gym that you are dedicated to, consider continuing to pay for those services during this time.