How Should We Respond to COVID-19? Supporting Local Business During A Time of Crisis

COVID-19, or Coronavirus, is now a worldwide pandemic, and as it starts to have a greater affect on us here in the US, many business owners and employers are worried about how they’ll stay afloat, and how they will continue to pay employees on staff. See, employers don’t just see their staff as faces in a crowd. They see mortgages that need to be paid, mouths that need to be fed, and vehicles that need fuel in order to get to jobs, doctors appointments, and more. The pressure on employers in general is high, but for small, local businesses, it can be crushing during a time of crisis such as the one we face now.

Those of us here in Polk County are facing days, or even weeks, of quarantine at home and with bars, restaurants, and other social gathering sites off limits, it’s easy to hole up in our houses with grocery delivery and Netflix and wait for everything to blow over. However, if we fully pull back from our local businesses, they’ll have no choice but to close their doors long-term, and THAT will punch our economy hard enough that we ourselves feel it as life returns to normal. So, what can we do as friends and neighbors to make sure our local businesses continue to survive (or even thrive!) without putting ourselves or others at risk?

Purchase gift cards! Gift cards and gift certificates don’t require that you use them now, but the money goes into the pocket of the business owner and lets them keep the lights on. Consider purchasing a few as early birthday or holiday gifts for friends or loved ones, or buy a few for yourself to use throughout the coming months. If the business offers curbside pickup or delivery options, using the gift cards for those services can be a win-win. You get an easy dinner after being cooped up with the family all day, and local businesses can continue forward.

If businesses offer pickup or delivery options, use them! Many local restaurants and service providers are offering this for a limited time even if it’s not usually in their list of provided options. They’ll bring food out to your car in a secure manner, or deliver it to your front door. From dry cleaning and tax paperwork, to dinner from your favorite local joint, you can continue with life in a semi-normal state without compromising your own health or the health of others around you.

Take advantage of discounts and promotions. To keep customers coming in the door (or rather, pulling up to the curb), many businesses are offering special promotions or discounts for this time frame. Take advantage of them while they last. You get a great deal, and the business gets to keep at least a percentage of their income.

Shop local when possible. We know it’s easy to click that button for the large-scale delivery services and big box stores, but the local grocery store down the street hasn’t had a customer all day. Your order will be one click among millions if you choose the big box store, but could put food on the table for the local business owner. If you can, shop local during this time. Many stores are providing pickup options they wouldn’t other wise make available, so you can still support small business without breaking your social distancing protocol.

PHR Staffing Solutions is still here and still serving you. We are working closely with employers and business owners to navigate the many changes that have come our way in the last 72 hours, and we will continue to monitor developments with the COVID-19 outbreak and what it means for us here in Polk County. We encourage you to continue to apply for positions online and send your resume in digitally whenever possible. Allowing us to work behind the scenes on your behalf means you can keep up your hunt without leaving home.

Stay safe and stay well!