Here’s How To Support Small Businesses During The Coronavirus
by Kevin Kieft, President/CEO Lake Wales Chamber of Commerce
How’s everyone doing? We hope you are all staying safe, either staying busy working from home or spending quality time with family.
Though our main office and visitor center is closed, the Lake Wales Chamber of Commerce remains fully operational. We are keeping busy serving our community from the safety of our homes. I myself have been busy working splitting my time between working at my Chamber office and working in my home office while spending time with my family.
However, while this downtime may provide a break from the daily grind, it is also bringing many businesses to a halt. Unfortunately, this downtime is projected to have long-term effects on our economy.
According to data from the National Federation of Independent Business, as reported by Business Insider, while 74 percent of small businesses claim not to be impacted yet, 23 percent claim to be negatively affected. Of those affected businesses, “42% reported seeing slower sales, while 39% were experiencing supply-chain disruptions,” Business Insider reports.
Our local community thrives upon small businesses. So when their business slows down, it not only affects them, it affects all of us in the short and long run.
Below are a few tips on how residents and business owners can support our local businesses during this time of need. More information can be found at our Chamber website, as we compile more resources: https://lakewaleschamber.com/
Above all else, remain kind to each other. Reach out to other people. See if they need help. If they do, offer a helping hand—and make sure to wash your hands thoroughly afterwards. Be kind and keep safe!
Tips For Local Residents
- Buy Gift Cards. Many local businesses have closed to prevent the spread of the virus. While you may not be able to visit them at their brick-and-mortar location, you may be able to buy gift cards online. That way, you can provide them with immediate financial support while guaranteeing to partake in their business once everything passes.
- Order In And Take Out. Many local eateries may not be open to customers, but some are still serving deliveries and take out. With delivery services such as UberEats or GrubHub, ordering from your favorite restaurant has never been easier. If you’re feeling hungry, give your favorite place a call or make your order with your smartphone app or online.
- Tip More Than Usual. Employees who are still working are making a considerable sacrifice by providing service during the pandemic. Now more than ever, they deserve good pay for their service. Be sure to tip them more than usual. If you normally tip 10%, make a generous tip of 15% or 20%.
Tips For Local Businesses
- Emergency Bridge Loan. Small businesses suffering losses and economic damages during this time are eligible for The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program. Small businesses located in Florida that are privately-owned are qualified to receive these short-term, interest-free working capital loans to cover their costs. These loans offer up to $50,000 per business and even $10,000 for some extreme instances. To learn how to apply, visit: https://floridadisasterloan.org
- Economic Injury Disaster Loans. Provided by the Small Business Administration (SBA), Economic Injury Disaster Loans provide small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue that they are experiencing. These loans especially prove helpful in covering disaster assistance not covered by insurance or funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). For more information, visit: SBA.gov/Disaster