While we are living in uncertain times, one thing is certain — small businesses are struggling. Many have lost several weeks of income and are dealing with the challenges of whether or not to furlough or terminate staff, apply for funding, how to pivot to serve customers via curbside service or other means, just to name a few. The Better Business Bureau reminds consumers that we can still help our local businesses while practicing social distancing guidelines.

There are many things we can do to help our local business community. And while some don’t even require spending money, we do encourage the community to support them financially if and whenever possible.

The BBB provides the following suggestions to help support local businesses:

— Purchase gift cards to your favorite retailers and restaurants. Once lockdowns have been lifted, you can use them, or save them for gifts for upcoming special occasions and holidays.

— Order more takeout and delivery. Although some of the restrictions for restaurants have been lifted, not all restaurants have opened their doors, and large amounts of orders continue to be conducted via takeout or delivery. Have meals delivered to friends and loved ones as well. Remember to be patient and to tip your delivery drivers well.

— Invite others to like or follow their social media pages. Show your favorite businesses your support by inviting others to support them as well. Not only can this help keep that business top of mind, some companies are conducting business, making announcements or are creating do-it-yourself videos via social media to engage customers and potential customers.

— Leave reviews. Statistics show that the majority of online shoppers use online reviews to assist in their decision making. Reviews also help businesses understand what they are doing well and where they need improvement. Help support your favorite businesses by giving good feedback for others to see.

— Give to the Business Relief Fund, a community fund launched by the BBB to provide microgrants to help local businesses who are struggling. Go to bbbhelps.us or text BBB2020 to 243725 to make a donation.

— Reach out. Check in on your favorite business owners and ask how they are doing and what their needs are. At the very least, your show of support and concern may provide enough motivation to hang on a little bit longer. We will get through this — together.

Before choosing any business or charity, go to bbb.org. For the latest on COVID-19 scams, go to bbb.org/coronavirus. To report fraudulent activity or unscrupulous business practices, please call the BBB at 903-581-5704 or use BBB ScamTracker.

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