Now, more than ever, Bostonians must come together to support one another during this ever-evolving global pandemic. But how can we come together while remaining apart?
The important thing to remember is to remain calm. There’s no need to panic stockpile toilet paper or snatch up every bottle of hand sanitizer to ensure you remain healthy. However, now is not be the best time to hang out with all your BFFs or lick every pole on the T for a $5 bet.
Here’s how you can safely support your neighborhood’s businesses while also practicing smart public health.
Order Takeout or Delivery
Small businesses across the community are starting to feel the impact of social distancing. Boston’s businesses and centers have already shuttered their doors to wait out the unpredictable pandemic that is sweeping the world while many others are forced to remain open in an attempt to make rent.
“We will suffer a great loss of revenue,”said Jennifer Pittore, owner of Locale. “Only being able to do takeout and delivery, I won’t be able to meet my payroll.”
After Gov. Charlie Baker’s announcement to close all Massachusetts’ bars and restaurants for on-site service, ordering takeout or delivery has become the only way to support your favorite local haunts. The temporary halt of dining-in means that many waitstaff will be suffering from a lack of tips so remember to leave one when you pick up your order!
Visit In Person—Just Use Common Sense!
If you’re part of the at-risk population, it’s best to remain home during this pandemic to best protect yourself. However, the general public can still support their local businesses in person as long as they practice the guidelines that have been put forth by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“We have always received a tremendous amount of support from North End residents,” said Marian Klausner, owner of Shake the Tree. “I am currently staying open for now, taking it day by day.”
Businesses across the city have stepped up their cleaning procedures in an attempt to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, making it safer to visit struggling businesses in person.”We are doing our best to keep everything clean and it’s a pretty easy space to keep your social distance. We have hand sanitizer available,” Klausner confirmed.
Pick up some books from the local bookstore or visit the small souvenir shop for a North-End-themed puzzle game to enjoy with the kids. It’s all of our responsibility to make sure our neighborhood shops are able to weather out the storm.
Many retailers offer online shopping as well. Small-owned businesses have ramped up their social media presence to display their current inventory, making it easier for people to shop without visiting in person. A number of retailers are offering free delivery and other discounts during this time.
Loft & Vine is offering free shipping and owner Sarah Garabedian suggested folks to try “Shopping in their PJ’s!”.
Gina DiGangi, the owner of Heart&Sole, has begun to offer virtual tours of her store through FaceTime to show off inventory to her customers. “My business has seen about a 50% decrease in sales and it’s extremely scary,” stated DiGangi. “It’s important that the local people continue to shop and support the North End businesses and, if they are uncomfortable coming in, they can DM us through our Instagram page or call if they see something of interest.”
Stock Up On Gift Cards, Not Toilet Paper
Businesses who aren’t able to offer online shopping or delivery of their services to the comfort of your home have been extremely hard hit by the current crisis. Purchasing gift cards from local stores is an excellent option for sustaining those businesses.
Keep in mind the businesses that have no choice but to close, like your local gym or yoga studio. Show them your support and sign up for classes now to help them stay afloat.
Donate to Historic Landmarks and Museums
The places that rely on tourism revenue are also the ones who have been forced to remain extra vigilant in combating the spread of covid-19. Most historic landmarks and museums across Boston have made the decision to close their doors to visitors. The North End’s points of interest such as the Paul Revere House and Old North Church are among those who have temporarily shut down.
A small contribution can be made to most of these organizations online.
Help Out Your At-Risk Neighbors
The elderly and immunocompromised communities are the ones who are the most at-risk for devastating effects if they were to contract the coronavirus. As a community, we must ensure the health and safety of those who may not be able to provide for themselves right now.
Check on your next-door neighbor to make sure they’re feeling alright and offer to do some basic errands for them. Offer to do a grocery run or pick up a meal for them. This social distancing is primarily about protecting them so it’s important we don’t forget about their needs! We are currently keeping an updated list of “Helping Hands” for those who want to offer assistance to those in need.