The United States has fully plunged into the coronavirus pandemic. It’s an uncertain time for most people and businesses, and restaurants are no exception. Small businesses of all kinds depend on foot traffic, and with people staying home voluntarily—and now by government mandate in many areas—businesses and their employees are feeling particularly vulnerable. Here’s how you can help.

Get take-out

But just because you can’t sit down and grab a beer and a burger at your favorite local business doesn’t mean you can’t still help support them during their time of need. Some restaurants have adapted to offering take-out for the first time, while others have extended take-out menus already in place. Others have even started to offer delivery service or at the very least, curb-side delivery. Make a quick phone call to a local restaurant and see what services they’re offering. They’ll be happy to hear from you!

Tip big

Many of your wait and cook staff will be struggling to make it through this pandemic, particularly before government assistance kicks in. It’s a big help if you tip big. Think of all the money you’re saving by not driving to work, eating meals at home, and not attending activities. A few more bucks on a tip will go nearly unnoticed to you.

Buy local

Buying local has been trendy for a few years now, but never has it been so vital for the health of your hometown. For the foreseeable future, rethink what you buy and who you can buy it from. If you usually buy coffee beans at the grocery store, see if you can’t get them from a mom-and-pop coffee shop. If you purchase thank you notes, hand soap, or honey from Target, try your local gift or specialty shop instead. The economy is counting on you!

Buy gift cards

It’s a win-win situation. Your favorite restaurants get a little cash right now to help them weather the storm, and you still get the opportunity to enjoy the grub you love at a later date. You get to do your part but can stay socially distanced until you feel safe. Most ice cream shops, bakeries, coffee shops, restaurants, and even many small grocery stores offer gift cards, so pick a few of your favorites and help make a difference in your community today.

Also see, Moldy foods that are still safe to eat. 

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Meghan is a full-time writer exploring the fun facts behind food. She lives a healthy lifestyle but lives for breakfast, dessert and anything with marinara. She’s thrown away just as many meals as she’s proud of.