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. Order out from your favorite restaurant or bar, or if you’re really worried but want to see that business still there after this crisis ends (and it will end someday soon), then buy a gift card for future use. As County Executive Laura Curran rightly noted on Twitter, purchasing a gift card is a “promise” to return someday soon. It also provides immediate cash to what may well be an otherwise cash-starved business.
These are desperate times for many. In good times and bad, our small businesses have been there for us when we have needed them. Small businesses sponsor our local charities and sports teams, and organize fundraisers for our neighbors suffering from a wide range of ailments. They also employ local people.
Now these small businesses need us to do our part to ensure their survival. Take a walk in your local downtown. See what’s offered, and then order from your favorite businesses online or by phone.
It’s hard to remember a time such as this. The days after Sept. 11, 2001, come quickly to mind, when fear was pervasive. People remained determined to live their lives, however. They should now as well.
With a virus like COVID-19, we need to get creative in how we go about our daily routines, however, most especially our shopping routines.