While social distancing and stay-at-home orders are keeping the public safe at home, they’re also taking a toll on a vital part of our economy—small businesses. Although some businesses have been able to adjust by offering options like takeout and curbside delivery of products and food, many others have been forced to temporarily close their storefronts. If you’d like to help out and your personal finances allow it, here are some ways you can continue to support businesses in your community.

  1. Order Takeout

    Most local eateries have closed their dining areas, but many are still offering takeout and delivery options—so you can support a small business while also getting a tasty meal. Just be sure to check their websites beforehand for updated hours, menus and pickup instructions.

  2. Buy a Gift Card

    Even if their storefronts are closed, you may still be able to buy gift cards from your favorite local businesses. This is an especially good way to support the places you visit on a regular basis. For example, if you usually stop at a local bakery once a week, buy a gift card from them for the cost of a few weeks of pastries—then use the card when business returns to normal. In the meantime, those funds can help get them through this period of reduced operations.

  3. Shop Locally From Home

    Many retail businesses have some online ordering available—however, smaller local retailers may not have full e-commerce shops set up. Instead, they’re finding creative ways to serve customers—including posting merchandise to social media, hand shopping via the phone with curbside delivery, and developing special kits and packages made for staying at home. Look up your favorite store and see how they’re meeting customer’s needs in this challenging time. Special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries can still be honored with a little planning and a helpful shop person.

  4. Keep Everyone Safe

    Those who own and operate local businesses that continue to serve the public are putting themselves at risk—for the sake of their business and for their customers. You may help reduce risk by using credit and debit cards, instead of cash, and by maintaining good social distancing practices in the store. If you’re having something delivered, see if you can pay in advance and have the driver leave your items at the door. Feeling sick? Ask a family member or roommate to pick up your food or merchandise for you.

  5. Be a Cheerleader

    Buying from local businesses isn’t the only way to be supportive. You can follow businesses on social media and share content with friends. Leave a positive review on Yelp or say “thank you” in the comments of a post. Everyone can use a little extra kindness right now, and that doesn’t cost a thing.

If you’re a business owner who needs some extra help during this crisis, view our COVID-19 FAQ page to learn about some of the options available to you.

This article is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.