• Posted On: May 19, 2020

There is no denying that small businesses have been hurt during this pandemic.  But there are ways you can support your local business owners by helping them reshape their economic development strategies as shared by ICMA.

  • Know the guidelines and set consumer expectations. Work with your economic development staff, a health and safety expert, your chamber, and more to help inform your business community of what the changing guidelines are and how your local culture will embrace this new normal. Allow citizens to notify you when they see guidelines not being followed.
  • Consider swapping out inspections and penalties for wellness checks. By doing wellness checks, you can not only get insight into if the business is properly serving customers per the current guidelines but also get insight into if there are code enforcement violations that you can document and provide warnings for. Valuable data can be collected during these site visits such as the depths of reductions in sales and staffing to pass along to your economic development division to help with recovery efforts.
  • Help find customers. Establish a way to notify residents of businesses that are offering delivery and carry-out services at this time whether that be through social media, your city’s website, or some other notification platform you utilize.
  • Allow public spaces to be used by businesses. Consider using public open spaces or shutting down certain downtown roads to allow restaurants to serve more customers through outdoor seating by helping provide more space for social distancing.
  • Offer rent relief and freeze temporary evictions. Various size cities are offering loans and grants to help small businesses cover rent during this time. The city of San Francisco is one town that has halted any evictions for small and medium size businesses impacted by COVID-19. Main Street America has outlined many funding programs and business support resources for your local businesses.
  • Buy local. The Braintree, Massachusetts, Police Department buys takeout meals from a different restaurant each day to help them stay afloat.

It is important for local businesses to survive during this pandemic as they help your community thrive.  Comcate can also help your community with both citizen engagement and code enforcement during this unprecedented time. Learn more today!

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