While chain businesses are susceptible to the financial strains imposed by COVID-19 shut-downs and slow openings, small businesses are particularly vulnerable. Whether in small rural towns or densely packed metropolitan cities, small businesses often have minimal reserves and few investor opportunities.

And, even though there is help through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the Paycheck Protection Program, local residents — as well as visitors to areas — can support small businesses in various ways.

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Inc. magazine in March offered these still-relevant ideas:

1. Order takeout and/or delivery if it is a restaurant.
2. If a retailer is not fully open or has a customer limit, check out the retailer’s website to learn if it is selling items online. Many small local stores will personally deliver or offer a drive-up pickup time so that there is no cost to ship.
3. Purchase gift cards. Even if a business is not fully functioning, or if the receiver does not want to patronize a business right away, a gift card purchase still provides immediate monies to a business. And gift cards can typically be acquired not only for food and retail items, but services as well. Also, gift cards can be acquired now and saved to get a jump-start on holiday giving or upcoming birthdays and other momentous occasions.

TourDeCincinnati.com added:

4. Sign up for a future class or purchase a membership.
5. Call a store and ask how to help — and then spread the word to others in the community.
6. Tip extra — and pay extra, if possible.
7. Purchase a season pass to a zoo, museum, historic house, waterpark, etc. Even if not currently open, the business may allow the season to begin at a later date.
Even though shopping local can sometimes be more expensive, asserted Tour De Cincinnati: ”… it is a small price to pay to help to build a better local economy …”