Support local businesses during the coronavirus battle

Published 3:27 pm Tuesday, May 5, 2020

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Tennessee’s economy, especially Elizabethton’s, is built on small businesses, and, right now, small businesses are hurting. The coronavirus has forced many of them to reduce hours or lock up and send workers home until things get back to normal — whenever that will be.
While state-specific data isn’t available, a nationwide survey by the National Federation of Independent Businesses found that 76 percent of small business owners say they’ve been affected in some way by the COVID-19 outbreak. Fifty-four percent of those surveyed said they’ve seen a drop in sales as a result of social distancing, while 23 percent had experienced disruptions in their supply chains.
Restaurants are still operating at 50 percent capacity, with many are still doing curbside pick-up and drive-through only.
Beauty salons, barbershops, nail salons and spas can re-open today. However, opening regulations are stringent.
There’s simple things we can do that can have a big impact on Elizabethton’s small businesses, like going through a drive-through or getting takeout or delivery. We might be able to eat at restaurants right now, and if we can, the wait might be longer than we want, but the kitchens are still open, and the wait at the drive-through might not be as long as the wait for a table.
Also, local stores may be closed, but their websites are up, and many are still taking and filling orders. The same goes for many service providers.
Also, buy gift cards to locally-owned businesses. You might not be able to use them now, but you can once the outbreak has subsided.
We can’t afford to not help our small businesses during this crisis. Small businesses, after all, aren’t owned by big corporations based in some other part of the nation. They’re owned — and employ — our family and friends and neighbors. Small businesses create jobs. Small businesses give money to local charities, support our schools, and sponsor your children’s sport teams.
Most of our small business owners are determined to get through this, they’re ready to deliver the goods and services customers need while following the rules and keeping everyone safe and secure as possible.
In our community, we have small greenhouses and produce stands, in addition to restaurants and other businesses, such as dry cleaners, jewelers, hardware and meat stores. They all need your business as well as your words of encouragement.
And, of course, your local newspaper could really use your subscriber support, as the shut down businesses temporarily suspend advertising.
We fully support our Elizabethton family of local small businesses and especially the people who work for them.
We hope that until the day we can freely walk back into their restaurant, salon or shop, they will find new ways to keep offering the goods and services we consider to be completely essential and make our lives easier and more enjoyable.

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