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Put on your mask and shop locally

The shopping season is here. It will be different this year as COVID-19 has changed the way we do things. We do not have to remind you to wear a mask when you go out shopping. All of us would love to live in an environment free of COVID-19, because it would mean less online shopping, and more local business.
Online shopping is more prevalent, convenient, and more affordable than ever before. The reality is we are living in a time that makes it extremely difficult for local businesses to keep customers and attract new customers.
Online shopping is so easy. Hit an app or browser on your phone, open the site, search for your item, click “buy” and a couple of days later that item is waiting at your front door. The overwhelming majority of us have made online purchases and will continue to do so. The pandemic is projected to cause an online shopping increase nationally of 43.3% during the holiday season. Online shopping is not going away and will most likely continue to increase. That is reality.
But, we all need to pause prior to hit “buy” or “check out” and ask ourselves, “Can I buy this in Elizabethton, or in a town nearby? Chances are, what you need may only be a few minutes away sitting on a shelf in a nearby store. Save online purchases for items that are unique to other markets or you simply cannot purchase locally.
Before you buy online, simply get in your car and go to the store and buy what you need. If you are in a high risk COVID-19 category, you can still buy locally. Most businesses in our area will either bring items to your car or find another way to get you the item you want without going inside the store.
We urge you to buy from our local and regional businesses. Eat at our local restaurants, whether you dine inside their place in compliance with the mask mandate or get curbside or delivery. These businesses employ your friends and/or family, they pay taxes that support our community, and they support our schools and non-profits. Think about this: How many local soccer, baseball and softball teams have the name of your favorite national online retailer on the front of their jersey? How many have their name on a sign at the Little League field? If you can think of one, let us know.
Carter County and most adjoining counties have a mask mandate in place until the end of December. If we all, throughtout all of Northeast Tennessee, would wear a mask when we are around others, it will slow the spread of the virus. Some will disagree with that statement and others will simply refuse to wear a mask. It is another reality we are facing: We all do not agree on the best path forward. However, those disagreements do not help improve revenue for the businesses in our community and nearby.
Masks help keep our businesses safe and open. Put your mask on and go shopping. If you stay home, go online and buy from local businesses. Spend money in our community and region and support those businesses who support all of us.