How to Support Local Businesses While Social Distancing

Living through a global pandemic can be scary, confusing, and disheartening. In one way or another, the novel coronavirus has impacted all of us, and in more ways than just the very real physical threats of the disease. For many, social distancing has led to the loss of feelings of community while we separately shelter in place.

support local businesses

As a fitness community where we believe everything is better with friends, we’re missing the motivation of our studios and trainers right about now. The good news is, there are still socially distant ways to engage and support these businesses and others like them, it may just look a little different than when we’re able to patronize them in person.

How to support the fitness community

  • Enroll in a virtual live class: Fitness studios like Bare Feet Power Yoga, Sweat Fitness Studios, Box & Flow, CrossTown Fitness, and Studio Three have adapted to offer live workouts online, via Zoom and social media. Logging on, and paying, for a live class both supports the business and comes with a built-in motivational community from your fellow (virtual) classmates. Check your go-to studio’s website or their social channels to learn about their at-home options and how you can join in. Some studios are providing class registration and payment as usual on their websites, and others are sharing classes on social media with alternate methods of payment.
  • Tip your trainers: It’s been extraordinary to see the fitness community take to the internet to provide on-demand and live classes at no cost to consumers. While these classes are often offered free of charge, if you have the means, you can still support your teachers with whatever amount that feels right to you. For all of our live aSweatLife Digital Workouts each week, we’re offering classes through Facebook Live and including the trainer’s Venmo name so you can tip accordingly. 
  • Share your experience: Go ahead and post that sweaty selfie on your IG Story – it’s not bragging, it’s helping! Make sure you tag your trainer and studio too to thank them for the workout, and encourage your friends to join you next time. Now more than ever, we can use the power of social media to offer free exposure to our preferred fitness ventures, and maybe inspire a friend or two along the way.

How to support local restaurants

  • Order out for a takeout date: Many local restaurants are adopting safety measures so they can stay open while we shelter in place. Dining at a Distance is the ultimate COVID-19 resource for learning how to support your favorite eatery through curbside pickup, takeout, and delivery. Built by Chicagoans, this website helps users find their feast through city filters that allow diners to easily locate local eats and drinks from restaurants and farms.
  • Send food to your local hospital: If you’re finding yourself able to give back to the heroes on the frontlines of the medical community, you may want to start with the stomach. Support local eateries while saying thanks by sending food to your local hospital. Chicago restaurants like Happy Camper and Mott are also making it easy to donate their meals directly to workers on the frontlines. Operating across the country, Slice Out Hunger is an app that lets you send pizza to care centers hit hardest by the pandemic. The app takes donations and pairs local pizzerias with local hospitals. If you’d like to donate food on your own, don’t send food without coordinating with the hospital first. You should be able to find information about donating food on the hospital website.
  • Donate to provide relief to workers: The fastest and easiest way to support employees currently out of work may be through the funds set up to provide financial support to workers in the hospitality community. Donate as you are able by looking for your local fund online. Here’s how to donate in Washington, DC, Chicago, New York, and Colorado.

How to support entrepreneurs and other small businesses

  • Stock up on gifts via the website: Whether your significant other has a birthday coming up, you’re getting ready to celebrate Mother’s Day, or it is time to honor a graduating senior, chances are there are gifts to be bought. Use your time spent at home to peruse the websites for your most-loved local shops and services. Many of the goods that you’d buy in stores can also be found online, and either safely shipped or picked up in-store. Stuck on what to pick? Grab a gift certificate to a local brewery, pay it forward to an artisan with an Etsy gift card, or give the gift of fitness with a class pack to their local gym.
  • Treat your (future) self: If getting your nails done or a haircut is early on your list after quarantine has lifted, buy yourself a little self-care. Support yourself and your salon by buying a gift certificate and penciling in an appointment. You may need to readjust your scheduling as stay-at-home orders evolve, but putting something on the calendar to tentatively look forward to that is also easily cancellable can feel good. If you have a regular stylist, ask your salon if they can also be paid ahead with your gift certificate purchase, or consider pre-tipping them via a mobile payment service like Venmo.
  • Write a review: Love the coffee shop on your corner? Can your pup not get enough of her doggie daycare? Donate your time to tell the world and input your ratings and reviews on apps like Yelp. Local businesses often depend on word-of-mouth for promotions, and online reviews are a big part of that. Think outside of just restaurants and write in reviews for whatever businesses you love, whether that is your dentist, yoga studio, or art supply store. 

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About Emily Baseman

Emily Baseman considers herself a fitness generalist. A firm believer that wellness is found by giving your body what it deserves, she is dedicated to working out regularly, drinking lots of water, and eating plenty of vegetables. From barre to HIIT to yoga to cycling, Emily loves to work up a sweat running around to take in a little bit of everything. She is a midwestern transplant to Washington, DC, currently working, cooking, and exploring the fitness scene in our nation's capital. By day, Emily helps social impact brands and nonprofits use social media to tell their philanthropic stories. She's obsessed with her dog, Bascom, red wine, and cheese of all kinds.