Whether you’re heading out to your local bakery for fresh sourdough, popping around the corner for that all-important morning coffee, or even booking in a trim with your local hairdresser – rest assured that you’re doing your bit to support local businesses, as well as the wider economy.
Not only will shopping local help protect local businesses and jobs in the aftermath of COVID-19, it’ll help strengthen the community relationships that are so important to our Australian way of life.
The restrictions that came into effect from March 2020 were a necessary step to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but they also took their toll on local businesses. Two-thirds of businesses reported a loss in revenue, with one in ten having to pause trading altogether.
It's a hard to truth to swallow, but many local businesses have struggled to stay open during the COVID-19 pandemic, with many closing their doors for good. The good news is that we can all do something to help. The choices we make now as consumers can make a real difference to those businesses who’re beginning to tackle the financial implications of lengthy closures and loss of staff.
To support businesses during this period, we recommend shopping locally wherever possible. Here are five things you can do right now to help local business owners:
1. Switch up your buying habits
Take some time to explore what else these businesses offer in store (and online) – search out special offers and delivery services. Try things you usually wouldn’t and ask staff about stock changes if you can’t find what you’re looking for, as there’s likely to have been some disruptions to the supply chain.
2. Create a local shopping budget
Part of shopping locally is accepting that things will cost slightly more than if you were to buy them from an online marketplace or chain supermarket. So try setting aside a budget just for local purchases. You might even find yourself preferring the wide range of organic food and handmade goods on offer.
3. Switch the living room for the weights room
Now that restrictions have eased on gyms and fitness centres around Australia, there’s never been a better time to kick some goals at your local weights room, or with your favourite personal trainer. Not only will it boost your self-esteem, it’ll help kickstart the local economy.
4. Find your not-so-local local
If you’re planning on doing a road trip now that restrictions have eased, make sure you stop in rural towns to pick up some supplies. There’s plenty of exciting local produce to be found and you’ll be welcomed with open arms by residents who’re happier than ever to see tourists following the effects of the recent bushfires and COVID-19.
Remember that we’re all in this together and that basic courtesies can mean a lot to those who’ve been more-or-less isolated for the past couple of months. As restrictions begin to lift and businesses start to re-open, we’re experiencing a degree of cautious optimism which is itself becoming quite infectious.
During times of uncertainty, having close support is more important than ever. At Virgin Money Australia, we’re here to support you and your community as you deal with the effects of COVID-19. If you or anyone you know is experiencing financial hardship, check out our support and assistance page to get the help you need.