Despite the COVID-19 Shutdown, You Can Still Show Some Love to NEPA’s Small Businesses
Our mom-and-pop shops need us now more than ever. Here’s how you can shop local and still practice social distancing.
Small businesses are the heartbeat of the NEPA community. The local restaurants, the cute Main Street shops, the family-owned markets—these are the places that make NEPA feel like home. But with the statewide shutdown of nonessential businesses, many shops have to close their doors. Restaurants are allowed to stay open for takeout, but business has slowed down drastically as customers hunker down at home.
Running a small business is an uphill battle on a normal day, let alone during a health crisis. However, you can support local shops and restaurants while keeping a safe social distance. You don’t even need to spend money; simply leaving a glowing review can make a difference.
Our local businesses serve us every day. Pay it forward and help them stay afloat with these simple tips.
Buy Electronic Gift Cards
Many restaurants and shops offer electronic gift cards, which you can purchase now and use in the future. This will give business owners the cash flow that they need.
Don’t forget that you can also pre-purchase “experiences” like class passes for the gym, a certificate to a day spa or tickets for summer attractions (for a little inspiration, check out our deal for Knoebels). Making plans will give you something to look forward to in the brighter days ahead.
You can also stock up on gift cards for Easter, Mother’s Day, graduations and birthdays. Give one to a friend who could use extra encouragement right now, especially if you know any health care workers and other essential employees. A gift card for coffee or dinner is a great way to say thanks.
Some shops have online retail stores so you can buy local without leaving the house. NEPA’s specialty food shops can ship your favorite treats right to your door (and spare you a trip to the grocery store). Instead of stockpiling pasta and soup, fill your pantry with local goodies like coffee, candy, honey, nuts, jerky and more. Treat yourself by ordering bath and body products or browse online inventories for boutiques and clothing shops. You can even show your support by ordering shirts, drinkware and other swag from your favorite bars and restaurants.
Restaurants are currently allowed to stay open for takeout only. Some are going the extra mile to keep customers safe with curbside pickup and delivery services.
Support Local Farms
When the grocery shelves are bare, NEPA’s local farms, CSAs and farmers’ markets have us covered with fresh produce, meat, milk, eggs and more. Avoid the crowds at the supermarket and stock up on fresh food at your local farm stand.
Rest assured, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has released special guidelines for farms and farmers’ markets regarding COVID-19 so that all food is kept safe and clean.
Look Into Online Classes & Services
You can use videos and live streaming to replace in-person classes or coaching services. Many local gyms and yoga studios offer online classes and video subscriptions so you never have to miss a workout. For the kids, check to see if the music teacher, karate instructor or tutor do a session through video chat.
Show Your Support on Social Media
If you’re on a tight budget, you can still help out by following your favorite local businesses on social media, liking and sharing their posts, leaving positive reviews and letting the world know how awesome they are. It’s a free, easy way to spread the word.
Make a Point to Visit When Life Returns to Normal
When the coronavirus passes, small businesses will still have a long road to recovery. Make a conscious effort to shop local in the upcoming months. It could be as simple as stopping at a local coffee shop instead of a drive-thru or buying from a family-owned business instead of a big box store.
We can’t wait to get back to the gym, gather with friends at the bar and sit down to dinner at our favorite restaurants. When it’s safe to reopen, stop by your favorite places to let them know how much you missed them.
And don’t forget, for all of our friends, families, and neighbors, continue observing all recommended health and safety precautions to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
For more information, visit Geisinger’s Coronavirus Resource Center.