If coronavirus concerns and social distancing have you skipping a trip to your local coffee shop, restaurant, or theater, consider purchasing a gift card now.
Small local businesses often run on exceptionally small margins, which means a drop in sales of 20% or even less could have a detrimental effect on that business’s survival. Some are already struggling.
A gift card is a way you can help support that business, even if you’re not interested in (or can’t) patronize it during this crisis. The idea here is that you’ve given them some cash now to help make it through, and you can use that card down the line, when social distancing is no longer needed.
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This recommendation comes with a few caveats: If you’re sick or you’ve been exposed to coronavirus and are self-quarantining then you shouldn’t be going to that restaurant at all right now, even if it’s to just purchase a gift card. Stay at home.
If you can purchase that gift card online, even better.
If you’re ordering takeout while you’re staying at home, now is also a good time to focus on ordering that food from smaller spots in your community. Chances are good Taco Bell and Chili’s are going to be able to survive a few months of slumped sales, but the same might not be true for your local Mexican restaurant or burger joint. Pay attention to where you’re ordering from, and if you’re torn between a chain restaurant and a favorite smaller spot, maybe choose the small guy.