Coronavirus: How to help struggling small businesses

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The coronavirus pandemic swept the nation, forcing businesses to shutter and local establishments to close -- including thousands of bars, restaurants, stores and more -- as local lawmakers work to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Small businesses, in particular, have been heavily impacted as workers are forced to stay home, and restaurants are mandated to offer only delivery and takeout options, eliminating groups of dine-in customers.

Here are a few ways to support your local small businesses, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce:

1. Buy a gift card

Buying a gift card from a local business and saving it for future use gives businesses cash flow while also limiting interactions and nonessential services such as packing, shipping and delivery that may require a person to go to work or come into contact with others unnecessarily.

 2. Buy locally sourced goods 

However, if you do need to order food or supplies, choose a small business vendor to increase their sales rather than ordering from a wholesale retailer or larger corporation.

3. Order takeout or delivery 

Ordering from a local restaurant or bar that is otherwise closed to patrons helps businesses continue to stay alive.

4. Follow local businesses on social media 

Supporting local businesses on social media and leaving positive reviews can help drive more customers to local vendors. In addition, many small businesses post initiatives and events to help support them.