Many local businesses have shut down or trimmed hours and services to help slow the spread of coronavirus. Here’s what you can do to support them.

By The editors of MidwestLiving.com

Small businesses are being devastated by the closings and limited services needed to curb the spread of coronavirus. While governments are considering financial aid, you can step up to help preserve these community resources.

If the business is closed: Buy a gift card online to use when it’s safe to shop again. Stores still need cash for basic operating costs and may be trying to pay employees.

If take-out or delivery orders are available: Do it! If a restaurant offers take-out or curbside service, that will reduce points of contact with your food, but delivery orders help drivers as well as the business. Services such as UberEats and DoorDash can provide deliveries without contact, if you like.

And remember that delivery or pick-up doesn’t apply just to restaurants—some florists have moved to delivery or pick-up only. (Yes, flowers CAN help brighten anyone's day!)

If the business is open online: Shop! Every purchase helps.

Use a delivery service if you’re sick. Businesses may need your money but they don’t need your germs. Regardless of how minor your illness may seem to you, play it safe—ask for a delivery.

Tip generously. Tip both for curb service and for delivery—even more than you normally would. Business is down for everyone, including drivers.

Follow online. Look for your favorite shops on social media and give them a follow. They'll keep you up to date on hours, services, specials and more.

Donate. Now's the time to think about giving money to your local performing arts group or museum.

Continue paying service providers even if you don't use them. Do you usually pay someone to walk your dog, clean your home, provide day care, care for your lawn, etc.? They may not be able to help you right now, or you may not need the service. But consider paying them anyway; their income may be completely dependent on people like you.

Be patient and thoughtful. Everyone is stressed and uncertain. A "thank you" or "how can I help you" (spoken, written or posted online) can go a long way towards making someone's day better.

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