April 08, 2020
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How to support local businesses while practicing social distancing

Community Author: Elaine Theriault-Currier
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Following the recommendations of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Maine CDC, and Governor Mills’ administration, many Mainers are practicing social distancing to reduce their exposure to, and the spread of, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). As social distancing changes our consumption habits and alters our normal routines, businesses are also adapting. Here are eight ways you can support your local businesses while practicing social distancing:
  1. Buy gift certificates. This helps shops and restaurants with cash flow during lean times, and you’ll have a treat to look forward to after the need for social distancing subsides.
  2. Order to-go. Many restaurants that do not advertise take-out and delivery are happy to package your order to-go for your pick-up. Even as municipalities order the closure of restaurants and bars, these establishments may still – but are not guaranteed to – offer take-out and delivery, with only the dine-in option unavailable. Check your local restaurants’ and municipality’s policies.
  3. Shop remotely. Enlist the help of local shop owners to find the perfect gift. You can pay over the phone or online, and either pick up the item(s) or have them shipped.
  4. Join local subscription clubs. Many local specialty grocers, salons, independent bookstores, and other small businesses offer “of the month” clubs and subscription boxes. This is a great opportunity to try new products and receive a surprise in the mail, which is especially welcome while staying at home.
  5. “Window shop” on social media. Local businesses are increasing the inventory they are showcasing on Facebook and Instagram – check out your local shops’ social media accounts to window shop online.
  6. Donate to your favorite non-profits. If social distancing has generated extra savings, consider donating to your favorite non-profits. Many non-profits have had to cancel fundraising events or close, which eliminates attendance fee revenues.
  7. Stock up on local produce. While grocery shopping, look for produce, breads, vitamins, soaps, and other goods from local farmers. You can try freezing or canning to extend the life of perishable produce.
  8. Remember that local establishments prioritize your health and safety. Check their websites and social media accounts to review the extra precautions local businesses are taking to keep consumers safe.

For more information on COVID-19