You're about to read a message that goes against every instinct I have. Please stay home, do not travel. These are times to prioritize health and well-being beyond anything else. This is and will be a two-fold hit. I did say "please stay home," but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t support our local businesses. Many of you are or know someone with a small, family-owned business; they are the backbone of our economy, especially in a supportive community like Cayuga County. Our small businesses are our character, our way of life, and they need our help.
What can you do?
• Support our health services; they are severely struggling to keep up right now and things will only get harder in weeks to come. The best way we can help them is to stay out of their way. Stay home!
• If you can afford them, please do to-go meals. We will lose our restaurants if we don’t support them. When getting to-go food, consider your health and that of the employee making and delivering your food. Pay with a credit card. Tip well. Don’t linger. Head home and enjoy your food with your loved ones.
• Buy gift cards. Our businesses need your financial support now. They don’t have the revenue to pay their upcoming bills. The gift card purchase is a promise and support to continue your patronage when things settle down. It is also a promise to yourself, that you will get through this and enjoy a great meal in good company when things settle down.
• Post, post, post. We have time and we know we’re all spending too much of it online anyway. Let’s put that time to good use. Look for all the businesses you normally come in contact with, friend them on Facebook, and follow them on Instagram and Twitter, and any other social media they might be on. This will not put money in their pockets, but it will help them feel supported and loved. It will give them some proof to the bank that they are a big part of our community and worth supporting. We have the power of the hashtag #SupportCayuga.
• Buy online. Many of our small businesses have online sales, so look them up and shop from home.
• How about paying it forward? There are many families struggling, many have lost their jobs, and many are in desperate need of child care. Buy extra gift cards and hand them out to folks in need.
• Donate, donate, donate. The nonprofit organizations are in need of your help, as all events and fundraisers have been canceled. These are the organizations that bring life to our community, the ones that help those in need. If you’re able, open up your wallets and support them.
• Tip, tip, tip. Getting a cup of drive-through coffee? Support local coffee retailers, and tip them generously! Getting an order delivered, or to go? Tip them generously, too!
• Use the power of the hashtag, #SupportCayuga. We need to support our community and be proud of our community.
• Above all else, stay home!
Karen Kuhl is executive director of the Cayuga County Office of Tourism and can be reached at email@example.com. Sources for this column include: fws.gov/birds/bird-enthusiasts/bird-watching/valuing-birds.php; ny.audubon.org/montezuma; and dec.ny.gov.
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