Stay at home. Stay put. Stay in place.
We add: Stay committed to your community.
Three weeks ago governors directed Minnesotans and Wisconsinites to limit movement outside of their homes beyond essential needs. The goal, of course, is to delay and lower the peak of the COVID-19 respiratory disease, allowing communities, states and the nation precious time to expand hospital capacity, establish testing sites, increase personal protective equipment supplies, develop effective medical protocols and eventually create a vaccine.
These orders are for the greater good -- public health -- but are not so great for the many small, local businesses that are closed. Few of them have the reserves to cover rent, loans, property taxes and insurance for much longer. Nevertheless, these entrepreneurs who enrich our communities are doing their part to mitigate the health risk of this crisis, and some of them won’t survive.
So our order of business should be to do our part by supporting them.
Hungry? Order takeout or curbside from favorite local restaurants. Perhaps get enough for two meals -- one trip for you, double the business for them.
Visit a local retailer’s website to order some gift cards for your use. Consider it a promise to do business there in the future -- something to look forward to for you, cash flow now for them.
Next week buy those local gift cards for birthday, graduation and Christmas gifts.
Pay for services in advance. Some businesses -- your barber or stylist, for example -- don’t have websites. So consider paying them in advance for that haircut or manicure. (And then prepare to tip really well those first few appointments, because we’re all going to need serious professional grooming when this is over.)
Do you remember the spend $50 movement? The concept was simple: You spend $50 a month every month at the three local businesses you value the most, then those businesses will continue to be there when you need them. Do it now, then ramp that up by spending more or increasing the number to four, five or six once your COVID-19 stimulus check arrives.
The governors’ stay-put orders are working, yet they are more likely to be extended than to be lifted anytime soon. Our small businesses may not be considered essential right now, but they are essential to our way of life. Let them know you're committed to them and to our community.