Since COVID-19 gripped our world six months ago, everything seems to be in a weird state of free fall. But as we hunker down in our homes and offices, I see many instances up and down the Valley where we are offering care, support and kindness to neighbors up and down the street.
But we can’t forget that the Valley also consists of diverse business communities. And like your neighbor, they are struggling to cope with the economic fallout that this pandemic has unleashed.
Using lots of sanitizer and creative best practices in prevention, Valley businesses are running at limited or 50% capacity. Some are still in “temporary hibernation,” and sadly, some have had to close their doors for good.
Everything in this Valley is connected. And when a light goes out in the Valley and a local business goes dark, we all lose. But there is a lot we can do to help them survive this challenge, and our support can make a huge difference in our business community.
1. Shop local. Or buy a gift card or a certificate. Theatres, restaurants, home, hardware, kitchen and garden stores, butchers, bakers and vintners, brewers, chiropractors, car dealers and service specialists, acupuncturists, physical therapy, licensed massage therapists, florists, arts and crafts stores, kids’ play venues, pet stores and myriad other categories of products or services are available for future use. Businesses appreciate the commitment as a sign of customer loyalty and for the immediate infusion of cash that gift cards provide.
2. Tired of your own cooking? Order food from the great restaurants that offer curbside pickup or delivery services. With 50% dine-in now available, it is amazing what creativity restaurants are coming up with to make sure their patrons and their staff are safe. If the restaurant offers fresh items or baked goods, buy a few and instead deliver them to the local food bank or to organizations that help people in need. Fresh food items can augment canned goods.
3. Shop online, but keep it local. Check out the Facebook Page or visit the website of your favorite local business. Many local merchants are offering discounts and are thinking outside of the box with their business models. Some stores are limiting hours for browsing, but are open for business online. Most can ship orders via their website anywhere in the U.S. Some may even do deliveries to local zip codes.
4. Take a virtual class. Sadly, most gyms, yoga or martial arts venues in town are closed or limiting class members, hours or times. Some gyms and yoga places are offering streaming workouts online that people can join from home.
5. Consider a donation. I call it an investment. If your income is not affected by the coronavirus pandemic, consider a donation to your favorite local business that could certainly use it. It doesn’t matter if it’s writing a small check or even cooking a meal for the employees — any sort of assistance could help a business that is trying to figure out how to pay next month’s rent and bills.
6. Don’t forget the nonprofits. We have some amazing nonprofits and arts, entertainment and music groups that lift our community up and make it a better place. Many of them are either overwhelmed with increased need for their services or are short of revenue after having to cancel annual fundraisers. Consider a donation to help their efforts.
7. Be patient. Businesses are operating at reduced capacity and staffing. Yes, we’ve all waited in long lines at the cashier, but remember that they are working hard to stay open and serve us safely.
8. Offer thanks. When we go to the store to buy what we (truly) need, be sure to recognise the employees who are hard at work there. Those employees are truly essential, working overtime to keep their store clean and full of the items we need. A simple thank you can make a huge difference.
9. Ensure that the Valley continues to be a lush media garden. Since 1913, readers of the Valley Record have valued our mission to tell the story of the people of the Valley. We did so during the pandemic of 1918 and we are doing so now. Then and now, our readers and advertisers’ financial support have protected our independence. In today’s COVID-19 world, it has never been so critical. Please subscribe to the Valley Record or surf our 24/7 website and see what our loyal retail advertising partners have to offer.
10. Stay safe. Whether your personal political compass point leans toward blue, purple, red, green or (in my case) tartan, COVID-19 does not care about your politics. Stay safe, cheerfully practice social distancing, and most of all, be considerate to others. Mask up.
William Shaw is General Manager of the Snoqualmie Valley Record. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.