It’s no secret that 2020 has had a tumultuous start. Beginning the year with catastrophic bushfires, and continuing with a global health crisis with seemingly no clarity as to what comes next in sight, small businesses have continued to suffer.
Necessary precautions to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus – cancelled events, social distancing, and businesses working from home, as well as the decline in outside activity – have left shops and restaurants empty, creating immediate losses in revenue across the board.
And while there is no concrete end in sight, there are some small ways that those with the means can help their favourite small businesses stay afloat through the COVID-19 crisis.
1. Buy Gift Cards
You may have seen this idea floating around social media over the past few days. It’s a great, tangible way to inject some much needed cash into a business you know you’ll frequent again in the future. Even if you’re stuck at home right now and unable to visit your favourite spaces, you can invest in their future by purchasing, or even gifting a voucher to use later. You’ll be helping them keep workers in jobs and doors open for business.
That includes vouchers to movies, restaurants, bars, bespoke shops and everything in between. You can even invest in a future trip overseas by supporting Aussie company SimsDirect and purchasing a discounted travel sim or store gift card. Your future-self will thank you!
2. Order takeout or delivery
Ever-so-creative hospitality venues around the country have sought to evolve their businesses in this unprecedented time. Meaning, you can still order your favourite dishes from the comfort of your own desk/bed/dining room table.
Sydney favourite, Chargrill Charlies, have introduced a new initiative that reduces person-to-person contact by allowing customers to pre-order and pay for their take away meals. Similarly, beloved pasta haven A Tavola are serving their restaurant quality food take-away.
Fine dining establishment Labart in Burleigh Heads announced the closure of their dining room, instead taking precautionary action in the form of home-style meals for take-away diners.
Melbourne venues such as D.O.C, Matilda 159, Tokyo Tina, Hanoi Hannah, Bar Carolina and Saint Urban have all implemented quarantine-friendly delivery options, which encourage doorstop delivery for those working from home.
Services such as UberEats and Deliveroo are operating business as usual. Deliveroo have also introduced a new ‘contact-free delivery’ option at check-out, limiting exposure between drivers and customers when making an exchange.
Ordering a food delivery is another great way to support workers in the gig-economy, who otherwise may suffer while people are limiting exposure to the outside world.
3. Shop your local
In addition to classic brick-and-mortar outfits, many small businesses have online stores that can be supported externally. Where possible, consider skewing your search locally, injecting your dollars into places that make a real difference in keeping people afloat.
Whether it be your local florist, restaurant, clothing artisan, bakery, and Asian supermarket – your money will help people find their feet and feel more optimistic about the future.
4. Pay with card
In order to limit the amount of potentially harmful germs and bacteria spread between parties, paying with items by card is advised by health practitioners.
If you have the means to shop for goods IRL, limit your exposure to other people (for their safety and yours) by tapping your card where possible. Also, once your transaction is complete, be sure to wash your hands and keep a safe distance from others.
5. Stay moving
If you’ve chosen to self-isolate and work from home, now is as good a time as any to get the blood flowing. Exercise not only benefits your mental health, but also helps to break up the desk time in between video meetings.
It’s no secret that one of the industries hit the hardest is health and fitness, with many boutique and big-chain gyms forced to close or pivot due to risks of spreading COVID-19.
As a customer, there are ways in which you can support your local gyms, all the while breaking up the day with some personal TLC.
Need some inspo? Australian fitness empire Keep It Cleaner are offering free online workouts, guiding you through sweat sessions you can do from your own home.
The Sweat app by Kayla Itsines is another tool that can be used for self-isolation workouts. There is also a global community of people that motivate each other along the way.
As always, there are a myriad of different workouts that can be accessed via Youtube and Instagram.
6. Look ahead, and travel!
Let’s address the airplane-sized elephant in the room. The travel industry has been hit with multiple doses of bad news over the last few months. Border closures, quarantines, hotel shutdowns, cruise-port restrictions, there is no limit to the impact that COVID-19 will have on our beloved industry.
Keep daydreaming, and add destinations to your bucket list like normal, supporting your local travel agent in the process. Or better yet, plan your next holiday down to the very last detail. It’s a fun way to pass the time in isolation, plus you’ll have first booking dibs when the time does eventually come.
In the meantime, we will continue to provide you with inspirational content where we can, particularly in drought and bushfire-affected regions around Australia. Keep calm, and (please) plan to travel on.