In COVID-19 scare, local businesses need your support, your ideas | Our Vie
Editorial Board, Treasure Coast Newspapers Published 1:41 p.m. ET March 26, 2020
Necessity, as the saying goes, is the mother of invention.
We sure hope the Treasure Coast business community, and residents in general, are feeling inventive right about now.
In the teeth of what could be the steepest downturn both in national and local history, Treasure Coast businesses are struggling. Many small-town firms have closed their doors temporarily, though the fear is the closures will become permanent. Layoffs are accelerating; local chambers of commerce and other business groups are reaching out to members, trying to get a feel for how they're doing and what they need.
They need customers, of course; they need revenue. They need a lifeline.
Above all, they may need "invention"; innovative means for supporters to buoy them as the waters turn rougher.
We're not talking federal bailouts, though many regional businesses will undoubtedly take advantage of low-interest loans and payroll tax deferments. But as of this writing, the measure does not provide grants to local businesses. Others are asking for provisions like a moratorium on commercial evictions or delayed payments for utilities, and no shut-offs.
Federal legislation might be helpful - but it won't be enough.
That's why we're impressed by local measures taken by local people, which, singularly, aren't going to solve our local economic woes, but represent the type of creative thinking that can provide a necessary boost to local business.
The city of West Palm Beach, for example, has launched the "West Palm Eats" website, which lists/links grocery delivery firms serving the area, local restaurants offering delivery, carryout and curbside pickup, as well as food delivery services like GrubHub and Uber Eats.
Similarly, the Martin County public relations firm Firefly Group put together a website, OurMartinCounty.com, which lists restaurants open for business (delivery, carryout, curbside pickup and alcohol to go) in Martin County, with eateries' phone numbers and links to their web or Facebook pages.
Gannett, the parent company of TCPalm and publisher of USA TODAY and hundreds of other media outlets around the country, has launched "Support Local," which lists businesses in many of the markets served and allows supporters to buy gift cards now that can be used later. If your favorite local business isn't on the list, you can add it.