6 ways to support small businesses during COVID-19

A female business owner holds an open sign inside her store window. Here are some ideas for how you can support local businesses when you can't visit them in person.

Small businesses are being hit hard by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Restaurants, retail stores, small manufacturers, and entertainment and hospitality venues are some of the businesses that have had to close or curtail activity. Here are six ways you can support local small businesses to help them survive.

  1. Purchase gift cards. Gift card purchases help make sure your favorite local stores and restaurants still have money coming in. When businesses reopen, you can visit to use the gift card and say how much you missed their shop.
  2. Order takeout or delivery. Dine-in areas are shuttered, but some restaurants and stores are offering alternatives, such as curb-side pick up or delivery. Pick a night and order food from a local eatery. It’s a win-win – they make some money, and you don’t have to cook. (Safety note: some recommend removing food from take-out containers to your own plates. And always wash your hands before eating.)
  3. Shop online but keep it local. Many of your favorite local stores or markets may offer online shopping. Ordering merchandise or produce from these shops helps them stay afloat while you keep your social distance.  
  4. Tip a little more than usual. If you order takeout or delivery, consider tipping more generously than usual. A bigger tip doesn’t help the restaurants directly, but it does help their staff, whose take-home pay may be affected. 
  5. Check in with your local gym. Looking for ways to stay active at home? Check in with your local yoga studio or gym to see if they offer virtual classes or training sessions for a small fee.
  6. Promote local businesses on social media. Share your favorite local stores, restaurants, and gyms on your social networks. Let your followers know that these places are still open for businesses from a safe distance. Include links to their online stores, virtual classes, or takeout menus to make it easy for others to support them.

Editor’s note:  In Connecticut, the state government has a list of resources for businesses, including guides to programs created by the state and federal governments.