Business Advisor Blog: How to support your local area during lockdown


As we adjust to another lockdown, there are still a number of ways you, your employees and colleagues can continue to support our local community ahead of Christmas.

What we all can do:

  • Continue to shop local

Now more than ever our local shops, restaurants and businesses need our support. Their doors may not be physically open, but that doesn’t mean they are no longer operating, as many of your favourite businesses will still be offering takeaway, delivery services, click and collect and selling gift vouchers.

You can still shop online from your favourite businesses and continue to order and get takeaways from most restaurants and eateries; so head to their websites and social media to find out more details.

If you still need to do your Christmas shopping, instead of heading straight to big online retailers, check to see if you favourite local business has a website, or a social media page you can order from instead.

  • Support businesses who are still open

There are still a number of businesses who are essential and permitted to stay open. This includes businesses who are providing essential goods and services, including:

  • Essential retailers such as food shops (including butchers, greengrocers, fish mongers, bakeries etc.), supermarkets, pharmacies and off-licences
  • Banks, building societies and post offices
  • Drycleaners
  • Medical, dental services and opticians
  • Car parks (to get to the essential shops)

Please remember if you are visiting the high street for essential purposes, to adhere to the national health and safety guidance to help protect yourself and others.

This includes:

  • Wearing a face covering inside any shop or business
  • Maintaining a safe social distance from others
  • Washing hands or using sanitizer frequently
  • Using cashless payments when possible 

 

 What businesses can do:

With many businesses closed and Christmas just around the corner, there has never been a more important time to stay connected to your customers. If you’re a high street business, consider the following:

  • Adapt and respond

We are encouraging businesses who have been required to temporarily close, to continue to communicate with their customers and adapt their business if possible. As non-essential retail can remain open for delivery and click-and-collect, and food businesses can remain open for takeaway and delivery, we suggest utilising these options in order to continue trading in a Covid-19 safe and compliant way, where possible.

  • Increase your social media activity

If your business cannot facilitate the above options, then consider increasing your social media activity to stay connected to your customers. With the furlough scheme still in place, people are more likely to be on their phones using social media apps. Capitalise on this by talking to your customers, sharing images and videos of your products and driving enquiries.

  • Plan

As we look towards the next few weeks, the hope is that lockdown measures will be eased and the high streets will be back up and running in time for the majority of December. However, we must anticipate that even if lockdown is lifted, shoppers may be worried about returning to the high streets. Therefore, we urge you to consider the measures you can take to plan for reopening whilst continuing to keep staff and customers safe; Reflect on the way you can diversify your offering in time for Christmas (with deliveries, ecommerce etc.) and we encourage you to apply for all eligible funding and financial aid your business is eligible for, as and when it becomes available.

 

For business advice around Covid-19 across the South west go to https://www.heartofswgrowthhub.co.uk/covid-19-support-for-business