Thanksgiving is only a week away, and the December holidays are fast approaching. We’re supposed to be making plans to shop in our local downtowns or at the malls, but because of the coronavirus pandemic, we may be tempted to turn to the national online outlets instead.
Despite the crisis, we encourage you to consider patronizing our mom-and-pop shops, many of which now offer their goods online. Abandoning our local businesses would be devastating on so many levels.
First, we could see an even greater number of them go under than already have. That could lead to boarded-up storefronts and empty main streets, which would depress local property values and increase property-tax rates. Second, the businesses that have long supported our communities through donations to the Little Leagues and the Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops would no longer be around to depend on. Third, your friends and neighbors would lose jobs and their livelihoods.
So we implore you to make a plan to shop safely — and shop locally. And please, keep patronizing area restaurants. Winter is almost upon us. You may not feel safe yet dining in — even though our local eateries are taking all mandated precautions — but you can certainly order from them and pick up your meals or have them delivered.
It feels like we blinked, and nine months have passed since Covid-19 hit New York. Here’s what we wrote in our March 19-25 editorial, “Even now, patronize your local small businesses,” 35 weeks ago. Not much has changed since then.
“Coronavirus has swept across New York with astounding speed, leaving sickness, fear and uncertainty in its wake. Small businesses, particularly restaurants and bars, have taken a beating over the past two weeks — yes, it’s been only two weeks since the first coronavirus case in Nassau County was reported, though it feels like ages.
“Business at restaurants and bars was cut in half by the coronavirus — and that was before Gov. Andrew Cuomo banned gatherings of more than 50 people on Monday, forcing restaurants and bars to close, though take-out is now allowed, including alcohol from bars, distilleries and wineries.
“Many small businesses, which are the lifeblood of our downtowns, run on small budgets, with narrow profit margins. A steady downturn in sales, even for a few weeks, could kill a mom-and-pop shop.
“That is why we urge people to patronize their local small businesses, even during these frightening times.”