With most states enacting some type of stay at home order during the coronavirus pandemic, many people are wondering what they can do to support their local community and small business. Below are several suggestions on how to accomplish that goal.

Shop Small Business Whenever Possible

Although many stores, restaurants, gyms, salons, and similar types of businesses are currently closed, it may be possible to purchase a gift card online for future use. Those that remain open are likely to have reduced hours and items available. Ordering takeout or curbside pick-up is an option for restaurants. 

To help smaller stores still open competing with large chains like Target and Wal-Mart, customers might consider shopping there for essential items like aspirin, toiletries, and food. Buying items and shopping for elderly or immune compromised neighbors can help the local economy and other people at the same time.

Bring Back Human Connection

The threat of the virus has caused many formerly friendly people to feel fearful of being near or talking to others. When walking the dog or enjoying a casual stroll alone, it doesn’t hurt to make eye contact and say hello to those passing by from six or more feet away. Humans are social beings. A smile, eye contact, or kind word can make a big difference in someone’s day, especially now.

Write Reviews for Local Businesses

People have more time on their hands now than they may have at any other point in their life. One way to make productive use of this time and to support small businesses within the community is for people to write reviews of establishments they have visited in the past. Remember that this is a time to build up small businesses. The reviews should be positive and encouraging. It lets them know that people care and want to see the business succeed after the restrictions lift. Complaints can wait for a later time and would be better to address in private.

Provide Foster Care for Homeless Pets

Shelter in place orders have forced most employees of animal shelters to stay home. That means homeless pets are receiving less human interaction. While they have their basic needs for food and warmth met, animals thrive with the love of humans. For anyone who has ever considered providing foster care for pets, now would be the ideal time. They may even find that they want to adopt the animal once the pandemic has run its course.

Reschedule Appointments Instead of Cancelling Them

Hair salons, dentists, and the travel industry are just three industries that have seen cancellations by the thousands. Whether the company or the customer initiates the cancellation, the customer always has the option to re-schedule several weeks to months from now when businesses hopefully resume more of a normal schedule. This can also be a real encouragement to business owners to see that their customers want to stay with them.

This is a difficult time for everyone. Focusing on ways to improve the community instead of pulling inward helps people stay stronger mentally as they continue to deal with challenges.