By Darien Davies

Let’s call a spade a spade: this coronavirus business is the pits. Not only is there uncertainty about health, but there’s also financial fears, company lows, and personal pitfalls. While this could be a time to retreat into our cans of beans and boxes of Mac and cheese, it’s also a time to support those who need it most. Not only does this include your elderly neighbor who might need help, a single parent who needs a break, or a kid out of school who needs some imaginative time-killing ideas, but it also applies to our local restaurants and small businesses. They’ve been there for us when we’ve needed a solid meal, a cold beer or creative goods, and now is our time to scratch their back as best as we can.

Step 1: Leave good reviews (from your couch)

This is by far the easiest way to show our business owners some love because it doesn’t even require you getting off your sofa or putting on pants. Not only are reviews a great way to provide owners with genuine feedback, but it’s also a way to show potential future patrons the amazing, delicious or fun experience they can expect. Google, Yelp, Facebook, OpenTable, Tripadvisor are all great sites for leaving reviews, and is an amazing way to let your local love shine on a global level.

Step 2: Shop small online

In the great land of www.everything, you can pretty much get anything your little heart desires online. Especially now, that little shopping cart is available on almost every local website, meaning that you can get the shirt, running shoes, lotion, sunglasses, watch, bathing suit, sandals, camera, hat, exercise equipment, supplements, piece of art (and on and on) that you have your eye on. Sure, there’s a good chance that you could just order whatever you need on Amazon, but is Amazon ever going to welcome you with a high five, let you pet their shop dog, or help you out with a super last-minute gift? Hard no.

Step 3: Buy gift cards for later use

What’s the only thing better than free money now? Free money later. When you take into account the experience overall of buying gift cards, you’re helping out more than yourself. Our local restaurants are either empty or damn near empty thanks to coronavirus and governmental mandates, which puts a halt to not only the business owner’s income, but the entire restaurant team’s income supply, including everyone from the bus boy to the line cook, and the hostess to the server. Once the whole social distancing calms down, you know you’re going to be drooling for your favorite salads, oysters, martinis and burgers, so why not spend a few bucks now to help ensure that your local spot is open down the line? It’s basically gift card karma, and it feels so good.

Step 4: Drink local beer

Don’t have to tell me twice! If we must stay at home and self quarantine, at least we can have the decency to enjoy the finest local brew available. Thankfully it doesn’t take an army to brew beer, so our local breweries have been able to stay open and keep their hop-filled hands busy. Instead of braving local grocery stores and emptying their already slim shelves for watered down beer, hit up your favorite breweries and take advantage of their cans, kegs, crowlers and growlers for sale. You never know when you’re going to need a delicious, craft beer, am I right? Wait, actually, that’s today and tomorrow, on repeat.

Step 5: Use a Local Delivery Service (Delivery Dudes) for food delivery

Sure, you have all the time in the world now to make that perfect coq au vin, cassoulet or German chocolate cake, but do you want to? No. And you know you already went to the store and loaded up on the essentials (ranch dressing, frozen pizza, chips and Gatorade), but it looks like your appetite was a little overzealous and you’re now running dangerously low on calories. (Self control is overrated anyway.) So when you can’t eat in but you can’t dine out, enjoy the easiest and next best option: Delivery Dudes. Not only does it help support our local restaurants, you’re also helping out the best local delivery company in town. In an effort to help us buy more time as a species, DD is eliminating the need to interact with their driver’s mobile devices and will automatically apply a 15% gratuity to your delivery. You can also opt for no-contact delivery (taking that social distancing to the ultimate, I see) by adding a note at checkout with details about your drop-off location. Kick back, relax, peruse the endless amounts of menu options, and go ahead and get yourself that burrata tostada or those lo mein chicken wings you’ve been eyeing. It’s a strange world out there, folks, you deserve to treat yourself.

Supporting your local business has never been easier, more doable and more rewarding, and you’re invited to start today with any small or large effort you can manage. There’s no way this virus is going to kill our need to be amazing humans and indulge in all of our fancy follies, so liberate in your to-go libations, find the perfect threads for your post-party-of-one shindigs, and  get all your favorite dishes delivered straight to your pie hole. Once this passes, you’ll be a legendary local for life, ya heard.

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