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The spread of the coronavirus has brought the entire world to a standstill. Borders have closed, flights are almost entirely grounded, and even going to the corner store has become a challenge. Though navigating this new landscape is difficult for everyone, it is extra precarious for those working in the service industries and small businesses across the nation.
Restaurants are shut down for in-person seatings, bars are closed, and many shops have gone online in an effort to help us stay healthy. And now, it’s time for everyone to step up and help them too. Just as we have done with Small Business Saturday since 2010.
It was then that American Express first encouraged everyone to 'shop small' and bring more business to their local shops for the holidays. And now, those same businesses need you to spread that holiday joy well into spring and summer. Here are just a few ways you can support small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic right now.
Purchase a Gift Card
The power of gift cards has never been greater. While many businesses are closed, for now, you can still purchase gift cards to use later. Bolstering shops' and restaurants' bottom lines right now will help them reopen and bring back their staff. Pick a few of your favorites to use later this year and while you're at it, pick up a few for friends and family, too.
Many small businesses have moved from brick-and-mortar stores to online. And right now, that’s a real win-win for everyone considering many people around the country are being asked to socially isolate and stay in their homes. Continue to order goods from your favorite small businesses when you can, including ordering takeout and delivery from nearby restaurants —and don't forget to tip!
Leave your Favorite Place a Review
One of the best ways to help a local business is to leave a positive review on websites like Yelp or Google. Giving a restaurant a five-star review will help them rank higher as new consumers look for places to eat.
Switch to Online Workout Classes
Going to the gym, yoga, or spin studio is a big no-no right now due to shelter-in-place restrictions. However, there are still ways to get in a sweat and support your favorite trainers. Many are now hosting online sessions via YouTube and Instagram Live. Some are asking for small fees or donations, while others are offering these services for free. But, even for those freebee lessons, it’s still a good idea to leave a tip. Just ask for their Venmo and send along what you think is best.
Follow Shops, Restaurants, and Small Businesses on Social Media
Another way to assist small businesses that have stolen your heart is to follow them on social media. Interact with their posts, share your favorites, retweet, like, and comment. This will help their social media channels stay active, and will show the owners and employees that you really do care and can’t wait for their return.
Donate Where You Can
Some businesses and workers need more help than others right now. If you can, donate to one of the many worthy fundraisers. That includes the Bartender Emergency Assistance Program, a grant program supporting America’s bar staffs, and One Fair Wage, a fundraising effort to assist those who typically work in tip-driven jobs.
And speaking of tips, make sure to generously tip any delivery people that bring you takeout orders, packages, groceries, and more, because not only are they bringing you what you need, but they are doing it at the risk of their own health. Now’s the time to go above and beyond whenever you can. Because we are all in this right now and we’ll all get through it together.