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How to support small businesses in the wake of COVID-19 - even when you're in self isolation

Small acts go a long way.

By Jess Pullar
There's no denying the Coronavirus crisis has left many people feeling uncertain in a multitude of ways.
From doing their utmost to avoid contracting the virus and to stop further spread, to adapting their working habits as we get familiar with working from home, the reality of sudden self-isolation has begun to take its toll.
It's also hard to ignore the headlines that delve into the economical impacts of COVID-19, as entire cities and countries go into various forms of lockdown.
And while we do what we can to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe, it's important to remember that some of the people and businesses worst affected by Corona desperately need our help.
In January, Australia experienced one of its worst crises to date - uncontrollable bushfires destroyed thousands of properties, leaving many people homeless and without a stable livelihood.
But from the ashes rose a movement. Australians across the country rallied around those who needed it the most. From fundraising drives, charity concerts and generous donations.
The country turned out in throngs to support the people most deeply affected by the fires.
Two months later, we're facing a different kind of crisis, yet it's one we can still do something about, even with the smallest of gestures.
Everyone can play a part as the world comes through this time of uncertainty. (Getty)
Small businesses are taking a big hit as isolation rules tighten and fewer people are able to access their services - albeit online.
Of course, in times like these it's important to look after ourselves first and stick to the basics, but there are little ways we can assist the businesses who might be sidelined for now, in order to help them recover when things improve.
We take a look at the options.

Buy vouchers and gift cards

Yes, while social isolation might mean you're unable to dine out at your favourite restaurant right now, that doesn't mean you can't head back to your much-loved local when things have cleared up.
Can you even imagine that first bite of your favourite bespoke pizza from the Italian joint across the street after a few weeks' hiatus?
Or what about purchasing that brand new blazer to wear to work, when working from home becomes a distant memory?
You can get even more excited about these prospects by pre-purchasing vouchers from your favourite businesses, which not only sets them up with some stability, but also benefits you, too.
Hop online and explore your favourite local businesses. (HBO)

Think about online shopping

As businesses calculate the potential impact of Coronavirus, we're already starting to see brands find other ways to encourage buyers to keep shopping.
The clothing industry in particular is staring down some confronting economic impacts, but by supporting online stores, you can help get them through this tough time.
For example, Kiwi and Australian store Glassons are offering free deliveries on orders over $30, while Sydney-based boutique, FAID, which exclusively stocks clothing, accessories and swimsuits designed by small Australian creatives, is also offering free shipping from its online store.
You can't really fault this technique - shopping for clothes while remaining comfortable on the couch is definitely not a bad thing!
WATCH: The new Coronavirus etiquette. Story continues...

Get on board the discount wagon

You might have noticed a bit of an increase in emails from your favourite brands and restaurants offering discounts over the last couple of days.
While we'd love to think it's just the usual end of season rollout, these businesses are actually likely dishing out the discounts in order to continue making revenue, as they feel the affects of the economic downturn.
If you were thinking of buying that dreamy camel coat this winter, or wanting to grab a two for one pizza, now might well be your time.
Any purchase with these small businesses will help, so don't be too quick to flick your promo emails straight into the junk mail folder.

Don't be shy of a takeaway

Often reserved for slightly, er, dusty Sunday afternoons, there's actually never been a better time to get cosy and order in takeaway.
Not only will it satisfy your stomach, it will also help to keep small businesses offering the service afloat.
You can still do this via UberEats or Deliveroo, as the business will take a profit as well as the person physically delivering your meal.
Simply ask the deliverer to leave the food at your door, too, because self-isolation and all...
Another hot tip: Make sure you ask for no knives and forks and stick to your own utensils - this will keep any unwanted exposure to the virus at bay, as well as helping the environment. Win win!

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