While we face uncertainty, social distancing and isolation in the face of the current Coronavirus situation, there are many small businesses doing it tough on the Sunshine Coast. We need to band together as Australians now more than ever and do what we can to support each other in these difficult times.
It’s hard to know what you can do to support local small businesses when you are encouraged to stay home, so we’ve put together a number of ways you can support them while still observing the isolation recommendations and regulations.
- Rebook – don’t cancel
If you’ve had plans, appointments or holidays booked that have had to be called off – reschedule them instead of cancelling them. This will give small businesses something to look forward to that they can count on when the time comes; a light at the end of what can be a very dark tunnel for some. If there was a deposit involved, this will also mean the business owner won’t have to worry about refunding it while they are already facing other financial struggles brought on by the Coronavirus’ effects.
- Get takeaway
There are some businesses that cannot operate like they used to but are innovating to stay afloat. Most hospitality businesses are still doing takeaway and need your business now more than ever. If you have a regular date night or a night you usually eat out – keep the date in isolation and get takeaway from a local restaurant. This is the perfect opportunity to get creative! Set up a romantic candle lit dinner in your backyard under the stars, or a cute picnic in your lounge room to enjoy your yummy chef cooked takeaway.
- Get delivery
While you’re supporting local hospitality businesses – you can also support their staff by getting it delivered. This is, of course, if they are offering delivery as a small added cost. The few dollars for delivery you pay will go towards paying and keeping their delivery driver employed. If you use a service like UberEATS (which the jury is still out on because of the fees they charge to the restaurants) then tip your driver at the end. Every small bit counts to support our local community and workers that find their employment suddenly at risk.
- Buy a gift voucher
You can also support your local businesses by purchasing gift vouchers now to use later when they are back on their feet. This will help with the difficult cashflow situation many businesses are struggling with, that have had to close their doors while still trying to meet ongoing business costs like rent, insurance and wages. While there has been some government support for businesses – this will only go so far for small businesses and the owners that do not have a savings net to fall back on in this time.
- Go online
Support your local businesses by following them online. If they’ve recently innovated and moved some of what they do online – go check it out. Like, follow and subscribe to their social media pages and online projects. Engage with their new online products and services and see how you can use the Internet to continue using their services. Be patient if things don’t work perfectly too – if they are new to the online scene this can be a big adjustment at first! Parcel delivery is also still an option, so you can shop online to your hearts content while supporting the businesses you are buying from.
- Plan ahead
A lot of hospitality and tourism businesses will struggle to make it through this time with the travel lock down and isolation recommendations rendering a lot of what they do impossible. When the Coronavirus is no longer a risk and its safe to travel and go out again – make plans to go out! Book a trip for the end of the year, plan to go out for dinner and make up for lost time!
- Be kind & respectful
Being kind goes a long way for the workers and business owners you’ll come across right now. If they are seeing clients or customers, even if it’s just across the counter from a distance, they are facing an increased risk of infection everyday to keep their business running, or to keep their jobs. This is stressful and emotional, so be kind to them. It is also important to be respectful of their health and requests. Some businesses may ask you to wait outside, others request you pack your own bags and others request contactless payment and refuse cash. Remember that they aren’t doing these things to inconvenience you and make your life difficult – it is for the health and safety of everyone involved. There is enough stress, fear and worry outside as it is, so every time you encounter someone why not aim to bring some joy and encouragement into their day by being kind?
- Check in on people
The affects of the Coronavirus and the current regulations have implications for everyone. The additional burden of trying to keep your small business afloat in times like these can be incredibly stressful, and most people who have lost their jobs are finding themselves in a state of helpless limbo. If you know someone who runs a small business or has recently lost their jobs, make sure you check in on them and support them. Send them a message or give them a call to see if they are okay. Send them a care package if they need it, and make sure you keep touching base with them to show them care and support. If you have a local business that has closed its doors that you used to be a regular at – send them a message of encouragement and support online even if you don’t personally know them. Let them know you are thinking of them and looking forward to coming back when they can open again.
This may be a time that you cannot be physically close to your community of friends and offer them a hug or chat over coffee, but digital things like Facetime and messages means we can still be connected and support each other.
This is a time for community spirit to bring us through these troubling times to the other side together, so let’s all do what we can to support each other and our local businesses right now!