Public health concerns over COVID-19 could mean reduced customer traffic for small businesses in North Carolina cities and towns. Economic development boosters are trying to help.
The Downtown Raleigh Alliance has issued tips for supporting local businesses, urging customers to order goods online, purchase gift cards, and patronize restaurants that offer curbside delivery.
Local businesses are used to dealing with temporary disruptions due to weather events like hurricanes – but this situation is different, according to the Alliance's President and CEO Bill King.
"We're not quite sure what the extent of this situation is," he said. "It really is unprecedented, so I think like everyone else, we're not quite sure how long this will go on and what the potential impacts will be."
King urged people to continue complying with public health advisories, including avoiding large gatherings of people to help prevent the further spread of coronavirus.
"By using online ordering and phone and buying gift cards, tipping well if you do delivery or order, tip like you were in the space physically – if we do those things, you know, it allows us to still support some businesses while also continuing to be safe during this uncertain time," King added.