We’re beyond grateful for all the healthcare heroes, first responders, and other essential workers on the front lines fighting the coronavirus outbreak (who else is cheering from their porch every night at 8?). Inspired by them, we can’t help wondering, are we doing enough? What should we be doing? We gathered a few small ideas that can make a big difference.
Our favorite local restaurants that are still open for takeout and delivery are taking great care to abide by new CDC guidelines and provide contact-free transactions. “I’ve been reluctant to leave the house unless absolutely necessary, but I make sure our family gets takeout a few nights a week from small-business restaurants,” Virtuoso travel advisor Jeremy Hall says. “We’re doing our best to support other families who have risked everything for the American dream.”
Check to see if your favorite bar is selling take-away cocktail kits. Many have set up virtual tip jars on their website. One suggestion: Every time you make a drink at home, “tip” a bartender. Shop online from independent booksellers and clothing boutiques, and swing by your neighborhood coffee shop on your morning walk. Downtime at home? Leave rave reviews for local businesses you love online, so when they do reopen, they’ll have positive feedback for attracting new customers.
One more great micro-approach to supporting your own community: Treat anyone you regularly pay for services (housekeepers, nannies, hairstylists, etc.) like they’re on paid leave, and continue to pay them on a regular schedule.
If you’re physically able to go to the store, offer to pick up groceries or prescriptions for a family member, friend, or neighbor who may be high-risk. Local neighborhood networking groups such as Nextdoor have forums for posting how you’re able to help. If you have the extra time, consider signing up for a shift with a nonprofit organization such as Meals on Wheels to deliver sustenance to senior citizens at home. Looking for a new friend? Volunteer to foster a dog or cat from a local animal shelter.
It’s hard to tell when it will be OK to travel again, but that day will come, and travel advisors can arm you with the information to make smart decisions about when and where to go. If already booked vacations have been affected by coronavirus, and you have the means to reschedule instead of cancel, your dollars will help support the travel and tourism industry. (And when you do go, your presence will greatly support local economies around the world as well.)
“When everything started a few weeks ago, we saw how much bad news was being pumped into everyone’s social media feeds and decided to combat that with a kindness challenge,” Virtuoso travel advisor Lindsey Epperley says. “The results were so heartwarming. I found myself growing from it and doing more simple things, like taking a moment to call a loved one I hadn’t connected with in a while to see how they were doing.”
Reach out to friends who may be feeling isolated right now with a text message, a phone call, or one of our favorite ways to connect, a handwritten letter. (Bonus: Buying stamps supports the US Postal Service, an agency taking a hit right now.) These quick, thoughtful, and upbeat interactions can brighten someone’s outlook more than you may realize.
No matter how you decide to pitch in, Theodore Roosevelt said it best: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”