After over a year of lockdown, we’re finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel – and doesn’t it feel great? We’re also finally starting to see our favourite businesses start to reopen, with indoor hospitality and catering, hotels and indoor gym classes back on the cards as we get closer to a summer of (hopefully) freedom.
But what’s the best way to support local businesses reopening near you? Here are some useful ways you can help give businesses in your local community a well-deserved boost as they reopen after lockdown.
When are businesses reopening after lockdown?
Many businesses are already open, with outdoor catering (like pubs and restaurants) as well as non-essential shops opening during step 2 of the lockdown roadmap back in April. However, many more who were unable to welcome customers to outside seating areas will now be able to open their doors and invite people in as of 17th May – this includes hospitality and catering as well as indoor gym classes.
Although social distancing restrictions are still in place, we’re on track to remove or at least reduce them by 21st June at the very earliest, which we’re sure will allow even more businesses to resume normal operations.
Why do we need to support local businesses right now?
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic claimed thousands of businesses, and a lot of those that managed to stay on their feet are still financially fragile.
On the flip side, our recent research found that nearly half a million (468,371 to be exact) new businesses were founded in 2020 – and lots of them will be getting ready to open up to the public for the very first time.
All of the businesses that are opening up around you have faced incredible hardship over the last year, and these first few months of reopening (and our support during this time) will be crucial to their survival.
What can you do to show your support?
We know you’ll be eager to get out and get spending with businesses in your local community, but before you do, check out these top tips for going the extra mile when it comes to supporting local businesses after lockdown.
1. Respect their social distancing guidance
We cannot stress this one enough. Businesses will have spent a long time (and probably quite a bit of their cash) on implementing social distancing rules based on government guidance, from setting up one-way systems to making sure tables accommodate the right number of people.
Following this guidance shows respect for the business and its staff, so make sure to pay close attention to any informational signage and that you understand the lockdown rules at the time.
2. Show up to your bookings
If you book a table at a restaurant or make a booking at a venue, make sure to turn up – any booking you skip means the business is losing out as they could have let someone else take your place. We recommend keeping your bookings noted down in your diary or calendar to make sure you remember to stick to them.
3. Treat staff with respect
After a year either out of work, furloughed or doing something else entirely, the staff at some of your favourite local businesses will still be getting back to ‘normal’, just like you. Although treating staff with respect is important at any time, it’s even more essential during this adjustment period. If they ask you to sanitise your hands or keep your mask on unless you’re sat down, make it a little easier on them by complying and forgiving any small slip-ups that might happen as they get used to being back at work.
4. Follow them on social media
This is a really easy way to support businesses – and the best bit? It doesn’t cost a penny! Following a business on social media doesn’t just give them one extra follower to engage with – it also means they’re more likely to appear as recommendations for your friends too, who then might go on to visit the business once they’ve discovered them.
Take it one step further by liking, sharing and bookmarking their posts to help improve their reach!
5. Pay now, enjoy vouchers later
Over lockdown, you might have received vouchers to use at your favourite businesses once they’re open again, and while this has been a great option for businesses to make a little money whilst shut, one of the best ways you’ll be able to show your support now is to save that voucher a little longer, until the business is more established again. Instead, pay as normal and enjoy your voucher at a later time (just keep an eye on any expiration dates!).
We hope these tips prove useful in the coming weeks and help you make great decisions during these exciting times following the pandemic. Share this post to build awareness of the different ways you and your friends can help support businesses after this extremely trying year!