Here are a couple of actions you can take as a hometown hero to support the local businesses you love and regularly utilize from afar given the current COVID-19 situation.
Go exploring during a walk in your neighborhood
If you are participating in social distancing walks to get your daily dose of vitamin D, try to add a couple of small local businesses to your route. If they’re open, stop by. In Berkeley, walk down College Avenue into the Elmwood area, down the heart of Telegraph Avenue or through the former “Gourmet Ghetto” in North Berkeley.
It is best to go during early or midafternoon, as most businesses that are open have shortened their hours. Awaken your senses by checking out Cinnaholic on Oxford Street if you’re craving something sweet or La Méditeranée on College Avenue if you’re looking for a savory meal. And if you need to get out of Berkeley for a bit, drive to Orinda, Moraga or Walnut Creek to go for a stroll and explore.
Buy gift cards
If there are local businesses that you frequent, consider purchasing gift cards. At the moment, a number of stores are reporting that they, as well as their workers, are staying afloat only because of gift cards that are being purchased. Get in touch with these businesses either online or over the phone and inquire if they offer such an option. Not only will you practice social distancing in this manner, but you will also provide them with the revenue they need along with a comforting message — you will resume business with them once this is all over.
Take advantage of delivery service offers
Once you are done cleaning everything out of your fridge or pantry, order takeout! Even though many restaurants are closed to the public, a number of delivery services are keeping them up and running. Postmates is offering seven days of free unlimited delivery, DoorDash is offering free delivery on orders of $10 or more for 30 days and Uber Eats is forgoing delivery fees if you order from a local restaurant. Making use of these promotions helps out your wallet and supports your community.
Check if businesses are selling online
In regard to smaller businesses that aren’t eateries, do some research online while you’re not taking Zoom classes. A number of stores local to Berkeley have websites for their merchandise that you may not know about. Take for instance, Amoeba Music. Now is a great time to expand your taste in music while supporting this local favorite on Telegraph. The store is currently offering free shipping on all music and movies that are ordered through its online store.
Burn your snacking calories by taking online classes
It’s completely understandable if, a month into quarantine, you are already tired of the same route you’re taking for your walks, hikes, bike rides or other appropriate exercises to practice social distancing. If that’s the case, take a look into any exercise classes that are being offered virtually through livestreams. This will provide you with variety while also allowing you to give back to the community. Pure Barre and Hella Yoga Berkeley are two of many local businesses providing this virtual model.
Don’t cancel — reschedule!
Boost a small business’s morale by rescheduling rather than canceling any appointments you may have made, showing that you are a loyal customer. Many businesses are being proactive and demonstrating their concern for their clients’ safety by ensuring that their customers will get top priority in scheduling appointments once they are allowed to reopen. Keep in mind that post-quarantine, the haircut, nail appointment, eyebrow threading or tanning session that you’ve been putting off will feel absolutely amazing.
Most importantly, take precautions
A lot of the businesses staying open during this time are able to do so due to the additional safety precautions their customers are taking. When out and about, remember to abide by social distancing rules and stay 6 feet apart, leave your reusable bags at home, avoid using cash and follow any additional regulations that businesses have posted on their windows, doors or cash registers.
Finally, keep in mind that all of these actions will help keep the places you love around until you’re back in Berkeley and things are somewhat normal again, even though you’ll most likely end up memorizing your credit or debit card number while you’re at it.
Contact Anna Kurianowicz at