In my post about the Coronavirus a couple of weeks ago I commented on the fact I was worried we were panicking about the wrong things… toilet paper and the like, whereas I felt we should be worried about the impact on our livelihoods, not just our lifestyles.
I don’t profess to be less materialistic or shallow than others, but as I mentioned I watch waaaaay too much dystopian (end of world) type TV not to worry about the events leading UP TO the apocalypse. And yes… I am being blithe there!
I felt really sad last night for example as my Facebook feed was full of posts from businesses being forced to close following government shutdown instructions. Some had been proactive and switched the way they were doing things but others have decided against offering fewer services and closing for the foreseeable future.
Usually those messages only appear when a business has collapsed. And of course for many this will be the case.
But… like many I’ve been pondering how I can play my part in helping to support industries suffering. So—though advice / instructional posts are rare from me, cos I have no expertise to offer anyone, ever—here are some of my thoughts on how we can keep doing our bit for those struggling.
Supporting creative industries
So many author book launches have been cancelled. Promotional tours shelved. Artist gallery shows and band performances all canned.
Social media however has been full of ways we can continue to support them. At the moment our postal services are still delivering which is a relief and I’m hoping this continues in some form.
Many small bookstores (along with authors) are holding online events, Facebook live book launches. A lot of independent bookstores, as long as they are able to trade, are offering free or discounted delivery… so temporarily moving their services online. (Many are sharing this news on Facebook, so check out what’s happening near you.)
And then of course there are online booksellers. I’ve actually just reactivated my Booktopia affiliate account so will share links to enable (Australian readers anyway) the opportunity to buy books online.
Don’t forget many artists have online marketplaces on their websites and you can buy there, and of course music (and books for that matter) are all available to download via various sites.
Supporting small businesses
Our government has announced some payments for lower-income Australians… of which I am one. I’m hoping I’m eligible for an upcoming payment. It’s meant to be part of a stimulus package aimed at reviving the economy as it goes down the gurgler. Of course whether any businesses are open by the time we receive payment (enabling us to spend the $) will be another matter.
However… that aside—assuming I do receive it—I’ve decided to spend as much as possible via small local businesses. I’ve actually got someone coming today to look at my overgrown gardens to do some pruning. I’ve flagged I can only afford a few hours, but it’ll be something. After a lot of recent wind and rain my back deck and windows are disgusting so (stimulus payment permitting) I’m going to get that pressure cleaned.
I’m also contemplating getting a quote from a local handyman to build a street library. As our town libraries have closed and I have A LOT of books (and live in a handy spot for passers’ by) I figured I could perhaps set up a little street library in front of my place. It’s something I’ve thought about doing for ages, but now it seems more urgent.
And if there’s anything left over, I figure I’ll get a couple of treats for me. A small vase I’ve been eyeing off, and perhaps an eyelash tint.
I mentioned yesterday on Facebook, because I expected this was coming, I took the opportunity to head out to a local cafe. They make the best Eggs Benedict in my area. They have outdoor dining and are a bit further away from the usual popular tourist strip so less-busy than other places. In a FB post they mentioned they’d reduced their outdoor seating to allow social distancing. (And moving to offer takeaway options.)
So I travelled through fairly deserted streets to arrive early and happily dined with only one other table occupied (at the other end of the verandah). And as of today dining-in is no longer… so I have no regrets.
Any tips for helping local businesses or industries over coming months?
* top image: @joshstyle via Unsplash