As coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19, continues to spread throughout the world, staying at home and distancing ourselves from others has never been more important. To effectively slow down the spread of the disease, the Government have this week imposed an immediate lockdown and urged the British public to spend as little time outside and amongst other people as possible.
However, while measures such as self-isolation and social distancing are proving to be effective in the fight against COVID-19, they are also, unfortunately, becoming an increasing threat to local businesses.
Local businesses often rely on in-person foot traffic for their revenue, but with everyone being told to stay at home, this makes it harder for them to stay afloat. Now that the lockdown has been enforced, many businesses have had no choice but to close their doors to protect their own health and the health of their employees, suppliers and customers. With no timeline for when the lockdown will end, it’s a challenging and uncertain time.
Thankfully, even though we might be stuck to the confines of our homes, there are still things we can do to give our support to our favourite local businesses during this crisis. If you’d like to do your part, here are a few ideas for inspiration.
Order a takeaway
While you might not be able to pop down for lunch or dinner at your favourite foodie haunt at the moment, there are still local restaurants and coffee shops offering takeaways and deliveries. So you can still enjoy your favourite dishes and treats from the comfort of your own home and the restaurant can stay in business; it’s a win-win for everyone.
To order your takeaway, you can try searching for your favourite local eatery on delivery apps such as Uber Eats and Deliveroo. But if you can’t find them, there’s also the option of contacting them directly to order and arrange delivery. For example, the JQ’s Rebel Chicken are enabling their customers to ring up and order their takeaway over the phone, whilst also offering a 10% discount.
Also, when you pay, why not consider leaving a tip because, as they say, every little helps. Don’t worry about coming into contact with the delivery driver either. Many takeaways are now implementing a contact-free delivery measure where your food is left on your doorstep by the driver making it extra safe.
Treat yourself and your loved ones to a gift card
Got a birthday coming up and need a thoughtful gift? While you could just head to Amazon or ASOS, why not use your money to support a local business, by buying a gift card from them instead. This is something that many businesses have now started to offer in light of the outbreak to help them continue to make sales. Birmingham’s Coffee Tales are a great example because they are now selling their own gift cards on their Facebook and via their website, which make the perfect gift for a coffee and cake lover.
While you might not be able to go out and spend the gift card in-store at the moment, buying one now and saving it for future use will give your local salon, coffee shop or retailer some vital revenue, which they can use to pay their employees and bills. So whether it’s for yourself or a friend, get in touch with your favourite businesses or check their websites to see what gift cards they have on offer.
Get on social
If you’re unable to support your favourite local businesses financially, visit them on social media and show them some online love instead. Get liking their posts, commenting on their photos and leave them a review if they’ve provided a fantastic service to you in the past. It might not seem like a lot, but it could give these business owners the confidence they need to press on.
Why not also consider giving a shout-out to all of your favourite local businesses on your own social media too. With social distancing in full force, people are spending a lot more time on social media right now. So by sharing one of their posts on your Instagram story or retweeting them, you’re giving them extra visibility which will help to introduce them to new customers and business opportunities during the crisis.
Take part in an online class
Just because they might not be able to do business as usual, doesn’t mean that business owners and their employees are necessarily sitting at home twiddling their thumbs. Thanks to the wonders of technology, many businesses are now creating online classes and resources for their customers to buy as a temporary alternative to their usual products and services.
From gyms such as SMR fitness offering workout plans to florists and beauticians doing live tutorials, there’s plenty of options out there for you to get involved with. If you really want to show your support, don’t forget to tell your friends and family about these online classes and resources too to spread the word. What a fantastic way to keep yourself and your loved ones entertained during the current lockdown- whilst also giving your local community a helping hand.
Reschedule- don’t cancel
Whether you were meant to be attending an event or a meeting or even an appointment with your local hairdresser, try to reschedule with them rather than cancelling or asking for a refund. Times will be hard for these businesses right now and it’s likely they will already be dealing with cancellations left, right and centre as the lockdown continues.
Losing money is the last thing they want to do right now, so they will understandably be very accommodating to customers who offer to reschedule. So, even though we don’t know just how long we will all have to partake in social distancing, get in touch with these local businesses to see what options they might be able to offer. You might be offered the option of postponing, putting your ticket price towards a different event later in the year or even be offered a gift card for you to use in future instead.
Whether you’re sharing the love on social, buying gift cards or ordering a cheeky takeaway, your support could give your local business community the confidence boost and financial aid they need to make it through these challenging times. Plus knowing that you’re making a difference from your sofa can also help to make social distancing at home that bit more bearable.