Protect your community, support local businesses

Opinions
Photo via Tourism Victoria

COVID-19 is at the forefront of everyone’s minds right now, and for good reason. Everyone has been affected in some way by the current pandemic. We all know someone who has been laid off, evicted, or is facing financial hardship due to social distancing or outbreaks in their home, workplace, or neighbourhood. This is a frightening time, both for Canadians and for the global community. Even though physical distancing is our civic duty and our main defense against the spread of infection, unity and solidarity are more important now than ever. 

Small business owners in Victoria depend on their businesses to feed their families and citizens in our community depend on small businesses for food, supplies, or other services. But with the current social distancing directives, many businesses are being forced to shut down, while others are facing low profit margins that threaten to sink their business altogether. In the spirit of unity, it is important for people to think about the ways they can support others and ensure that we, as a society, are minimizing the economic impact of this crisis on each other. One way to do this is to support local business while we remain indoors.

Buying delivery allows us to support businesses, while keeping our social distance. Many local food shops offer delivery through services like Skip the Dishes or Uber Eats. Through making use of these delivery options, we can support businesses in our community without having to go outside and risk infection. Not only does this method allow you to enjoy delicious local cuisine from the comfort of your home, it keeps Skip and Uber employees working while you support a business that may need your patronage in order to remain open.

Another option is to buy gift cards. Lots of businesses offer gift cards that can be saved and used at a later time. Others offer certificates or cards that can be used to make purchases in their online shops. Though you may not be able to go outside right now, and not every local business offers delivery, purchasing a gift card from a local shop can offer some much-needed income to them while also keeping you safe at home.

If you’re not able to support a business monetarily, as many of us aren’t, you can still help. Providing word-of-mouth advertisements through social media posts and shares can give a signal boost to businesses that may not have the funds to provide this advertising for themselves. Send out a tweet or two about locally owned places in town where you love to shop, or perhaps send a direct message and ask your favourite café or restaurant if you can tweet a discount code to your followers. Right now, every little bit counts. If we’re going to be spending more time than ever on social media, we might as well make a contribution at the same time.

No matter what your current financial situation is, or how careful you have to be about remaining indoors, there are still ways to help support your community and lessen the impact of this global emergency. Though this is a difficult time for everyone — no matter your situation, a pandemic is always stressful —  those of us who are able to work from home, or who have enough savings, should do their part to keep others in the community afloat. Like ants who create a raft of their bodies to survive a flood, if we band together, we can all keep our heads above water.