Each year, we encourage our readers to shop locally, in your community’s downtown, during the holidays. With the coronavirus pandemic still raging, we’re doubling down on that advice.
We know Covid-19 spreads among dense populations. That only makes sense. It’s an airborne disease, so when people are tightly packed into small or confined spaces, there’s a greater chance that the virus will be transmitted from one person to the next.
Shopping in your downtown, with its smaller stores, where customer density can be better controlled than at the malls and superstores, would thus seem like a smart move, particularly now, with the rise around the world of the Omicron variant, against which the vaccines may be less effective.
Beyond that, shopping locally is just good for your community. Keeping local shops and eateries in business supports the tax base, and bolsters homeowners’ property values. By contrast, downtowns full of boarded-up shops lead to rising property taxes for homeowners and plummeting house values.
That is, shopping locally is in your self-interest.
Moreover, it is a way to give back to the people who give so much to their communities. Local shop and restaurant owners are the folks who sponsor Little League teams and donate to the Girl and Boy Scouts. They are the ones who organize fundraisers for children stricken by deadly diseases, and who advocate for better roads and schools in their communities.
The owners of the small businesses that line the streets of our communities are us. That’s why you are more likely to receive competent service and a friendly smile when you shop locally.
The coming month has the potential to challenge us in unforeseen ways. Now is the time to be safe — and that means being smart. Start by shopping locally.