The coronavirus has impacted nearly all of our lives in ways we’d never expected. While we should not panic, it’s important for us to think about our neighbors and our communities at this time. Local businesses have been hit especially hard by this crisis, and as it extends, many may not recover. So, while it should always be top priority to ensure that you and your family have the help and resources that you need, you should look to your community to see how you can help if possible.
Seniors are possibly the most vulnerable population during our current COVID-19 crisis. Thankfully, there are some resources making things a bit easier for seniors during this time. At this point, the only reason people should be leaving their homes is to go to the grocery store or pharmacy. These are two necessary aspects of life, and most Americans cannot go without them. Understandably, many seniors are wary of braving a grocery store or pharmacy due to risk of exposure.
Because of this, many stores have instituted “vulnerable population” hours. These times provide a space for those most at risk (children, seniors, people with compromised immune systems) to shop while still limiting their contact and exposure. But, some Americans are still unable to get to the store, even within these time frames. This is where meal and grocery delivery services come in.
Meals on Wheels is a service that provides meals for seniors and also helps in combating loneliness and isolation. While this is a helpful service in any setting, it’s especially helpful now. You can use your zip code to see if the service is available in your neighborhood. As a non-profit, Meals on Wheels operates on a limited budget. Thankfully, people across the country have taken the initiative to help keep this program funded. People have started GoFundMe pages to receive donations directly towards organizations Meals on Wheels. Even high school students have contributed in organizing these efforts, which can only give us more hope moving forward.
New York City saw the rise of its own volunteer service in Invisible Hands. This program offers free deliveries for citizens the most vulnerable to COVID-19. The group of volunteers quickly organized themselves amid the growing threat of coronavirus. They make deliveries without any direct contact. Currently, this service is only available in New York and New Jersey, but there are plans to expand their service area.
On top of these, there are many home meal delivery options. Services like Amazon Fresh and Instacart offer options for grocery shopping from your own home. They can provide a safe and convenient option, so see if they’re available in your area.
Even if these services aren’t available for you, large retailers are offering delivery on their products. Walmart, Target, and Whole Foods offer delivery services, so you may be able to stock up through home from one of them. The same can be said for major pharmacies as well. CVS and Walgreens offer delivery, and have waived delivery fees during this time. This way, you can get the medications you need without taking additional risks.
Restaurants and bars have been some of the businesses hit the hardest by the coronavirus. This is primarily because they’ve been required to reduce their hours, if not outright close. However, many restaurants have kept their kitchens open. This means that while you can’t go and sit down at your favorite local eatery, you can still support them in other ways.
While some restaurants are no longer preparing food at all, a vast majority still have gift cards available for purchase. A gift card is a nice way of using some extra income to help ensure that your favorite local restaurant can open back up after this crisis. This purchase will help them immediately, when things are their most difficult. Then, once we’ve overcome this outbreak, you can treat yourself to a nice dinner. Some restaurants may offer gift cards for sale online, even if their kitchen has closed, removing your need to leave the house.
As we’ve learned, many restaurants have kept their kitchens open during this difficult time, while their dining areas have been closed. This means that delivery and takeout services may still be available. While this will be a case-by-case basis for each restaurant, you can check and see if your favorite meal is available for delivery.
Some smaller restaurants don’t have the staff to deliver food themselves. However, you can still support these restaurants if they’re available on food delivery services. So, you may be able to take advantage of these convenient options you may not be familiar with. These applications can be downloaded on your smartphone or tablet and provide a convenient option for delivery or takeout.
Uber Eats - Uber Eats is a service that was developed out of Uber. Once just a ridesharing service, customers can now receive their favorite takeout orders delivered right to their door, opening your delivery options to nearly any restaurant you could think of. For some parts of the country most seriously impacted by COVID-19, Uber Eats is offering free delivery for their customers. If you can afford the splurge, see if your favorite restaurant is available for delivery and treat yourself to a nice meal, while helping them stay open.
GrubHub- GrubHub is another food-delivery service that is attempting to support local businesses during this difficult situation. The company has opted to temporarily suspend collecting commission fees to allow restaurants to earn more on each sale.
DoorDash - This food delivery service has been focused on their employees’ health by providing hand sanitizer, gloves, and wipes. The company has also provided options for contactless deliveries, where you and your courier do not have to come into contact.
Postmates - Also offering contactless delivery, this service has stepped up and provided their employees with paid sick leave in efforts towards stopping the virus’ spread.
While you may be able to place your favorite order over the phone, these options may allow you to order from a restaurant nearby that you hadn’t even considered. And, having some variety in your meals can help combat restlessness during social distancing.
Many restaurants and local businesses are offering steep discounts to encourage take-out or delivery orders. While this can mean an inexpensive night eating in, it also means that these businesses are offering services at a price that will just barely keep the lights on. And, because working in any public setting right now can increase your risk for exposure to the coronavirus, we encourage you to tip generously on all take-out or delivery orders. This way, you’ll give your favorite eatery a fighting chance of reopening after we’ve overcome this situation.
This is a difficult time for the majority of our country. Once you’ve made sure that you have the help and resources that you need, see how you can help your neighbors and community. The only way to get through this situation is by working together.
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