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During the COVID-19 pandemic, you have likely heard the phrase ‘support local’ once or twice. But what does this phrase really mean and why does it matter? Here’s the breakdown of the importance behind supporting local businesses and how you can get involved if you have the financial means to do so.

What Does This Phrase Mean? How Can You Get Involved?

This phrase seems simple enough, but people may not fully understand what it means to support a true local business, especially at a time like this. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, local businesses need your support now more than ever. Local business owners have been forced to shut down or suspend their operations due to the social distancing laws that their state or city governments have put in place. While those choices (or mandates) are often the right decision in regards to the greater good of the community, it still puts a large damper on the financial health of local establishments. 

Local companies, such as restaurants, specialty shops or gyms, are feeling the impact of having to pivot their way of doing business. For some, this means they have had to completely shut down their operations and rely solely on their savings to stay in business. For others, such as restaurants and gyms, they are able to shift their focus to a different way of operating. It may seem as though they have the ability to keep up their profit margins, but in reality, they are still at an extreme disadvantage. Other local businesses—such as construction workers or contractors—may not have to stop their business operations, but they are also at a disadvantage, as people are not willing to spend money and/or let strangers into their homes during this time. 

The phrase is quite simple: support local businesses so that your community can continue to thrive, despite the ongoing threat of COVID-19. However, there are several different ways to actually support those local businesses without putting yourself or others at an increased risk of spreading the virus. Here are some ways you can support your community businesses from afar:

Look on third-party websites or smartphone apps, such as Yelp, DoorDash or GrubHub, for nearby restaurants that are offering delivery, to-go orders or curbside pickup.

While it's best to order directly from restaurants in an effort to give them 100% of the profits, these sites
can be used as a resource to find options to order from. Perhaps you and your loved ones can plan weekly meals where you either sit down and eat together (if you live in the same household) or have a virtual dinner party.

Consider signing up for workout plans, boot camps or classes that are run through your local fitness studios.

Even if the gyms/studios in your area are franchises, they are considered to be local businesses because they are owned by an individual that lives in your community.
Local F45 studios have been able to pivot during this time of crisis by hosting live stream workouts that are easily accessible to their communities. F45’s At-Home platform allows people to continue to stay fit and healthy even when staying home via on-demand workouts, nutrition advice, and community support.

Consider giving back to the local businesses that are closed by purchasing a gift card or certificate for their services in the future.

Services such as hairdressers, nail salons, handymen, boutiques, etc. are in need of support, especially since they have modified services or are not allowed to be open at all during this time. Simply reach out to the local business and ask if you could purchase a service that will be validated at a later date, after the social distancing period is over. This will not only allow you to support your local business and community during this time, but it will give you something to look forward to using and/or doing after quarantine is over. This is also a great way to buy your loved ones a birthday, anniversary, Mother's or Father's Day gift! 

While society continues to navigate through this crisis, it is important to remember that our community needs support now more than ever. We are all leaning on our neighbors to provide that sense of security, comfort and assurance that everything will be okay on the other side. If you are financially able to support your local businesses during this time, it is both appreciated and encouraged. Together, we can ensure our community will be stronger than ever once life returns to normal.

Image: VectorStock

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