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During the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, many small businesses are facing serious challenges because of social distancing guidelines. Small businesses play a big part in the American economy. According to the Small Business Administration, businesses with 500 or fewer employees make up 99.7 percent of all US businesses and represent nearly 50 percent of all US private sector employment.

Restaurants, stores, and other businesses rely heavily on customers to visit and make purchases. Many are currently experiencing significant drops in sales and are having to rapidly adjust to counteract the impact of COVID-19.

Small businesses are counting on the public to help them keep their doors open. If you typically support local businesses, find ways to continue giving them your business. Here are five things you can do now to help support the small businesses in your area.

  • Place an online order or get carryout food from a restaurant. Online sales and carryout orders create ways for businesses to still make money and keep staff employed, while also allowing people to maintain a safe social distance. Leave a larger tip if you are feeling generous and want to help the business owner pay the staff.
  • Purchase a gift card. Gift cards are an easy way to help a business because they can bring in money by offering someone an opportunity to purchase an item or service later.
  • Write an online review. Many websites are available for customer ratings and reviews. Leave feedback so others can learn more about a business. This can then help increase sales.
  • Follow businesses on social media and share their posts. Digital media will be a critical marketing channel for businesses when most people are spending time at home or away from others. Following your favorite businesses on social media lets you stay up to date on product and services they are offering. Share appealing news with others in your social media circles to help promote businesses. Feeling creative? Write your own post and tag the business or businesses you would like others to support.
  • Stay home if you are feeling sick or know you have COVID-19. If you are feeling sick or know that you have COVID-19, stay home. If sick people stay at home, businesses can continue serving those who are well.
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