The constant news cycle regarding the coronavirus pandemic has left many of us feeling anxious and worried not only for the health of ourselves and our loved ones, but also the cities and towns we live in. There are a number of ways you can continue to support your local area during COVID-19 while keeping yourself safe.

While the pandemic seems to have hit almost every corner of business, restaurants are particularly vulnerable, as many struggle to continue to pay their employees with little to no income. One big way to help is to reach out to your favorite local establishments and see if they are offering any take away services, or selling gift cards, wine, or other beverages. Many might be offering special deals and delivery, and this helps not only restaurant owners, but also suppliers and those working in service. If you have a restaurant where the service is particularly great, think about reaching out to the service workers and waiters to send Venmo tips or gift cards — many don’t have a financial backup plan and are facing lay-offs.

Shop small. There are so many reasons why you should skip the big grocery chains and head to your local markets and shops. First: big grocery chains attract big crowds. Lines will be long, and it will be tough to maintain a 6-foot distance from others in the shop. The longer you wait in line to pay, the longer you’ll be exposed to germs. Second: the bigger stores are more likely to be sold out of essentials. When one thinks of buying toilet paper, they go straight to the big store. Many local shops sell basic necessities, and likely won’t sell out as quickly. Third: you’ll be helping local businesses survive during the pandemic, which is a reward in and of itself. Many of our communities are based on the small businesses that keep them running.

Finally, start a fundraiser for local initiatives. Many people are sitting at home, bored, and feeling helpless. Donating a small part of your day to planning a fundraiser for local organizations, charities, shelters, and people out of work is not only incredibly helpful, but a great way to feel fulfilled at the end of a long day inside.

Remember: stay inside, wash your hands, and be kind to one another. We’re looking forward to reconnecting with you once this is over.

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