The novel coronavirus infection rate has been on the rise. As countries start to impose restrictions, including lockdowns, its impression on the economy might last for a long time.

So far, every industry has been affected. Businesses and restaurants there were teemed with people until recently are now struggling to stay open. Local businesses have especially taken a huge hit. According to the World Bank, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) make up 90 per cent of businesses worldwide and employ over 50 per cent of the working population. Though significantly different from popular chain stores, the need for SMEs is high. They contribute to the economy and the community. That’s right; we’re talking about your favourite local restaurants and those quirky mom-and-pop stores you love. These businesses are a requirement for community identity, through their compelling concepts that welcome, both, tourists and locals. Their products and services are unique to them, which is one of their biggest appeals.  

However, with fewer people dining out or shopping due to the growing pandemic, the expenses of these businesses have been piling up with little to no revenue. Many have closed temporarily, while others have chosen to shut down. To cope with the current restrictions of safe-distancing, most small businesses are looking for other ways to continue their trade. Although the Singapore government has taken measures to ensure their survival through the Resilience Budget, and several businesses having their rent waivered, the effects of the pandemic have been hard. 

Can you imagine the local Thai restaurant near you shutting down? Or how about that cute little gift shop you always pass by on your way to work? You may be able to change that; it’s time to come forward as a community.

There are plenty of ways to help out these small businesses that form an important part of the country. Here’s how you can support your local spots: 

  • Some businesses can adapt, and by partnering with food delivery companies, these local restaurants/dining businesses are now able to offer delivery services. To regulate their business, order food from them whenever you can. If you are concerned about the safety and hygiene of the ordeal, contact them or look them up online. At present, every food establishment has been taking active measures as part of the SG campaign to ensure safe and clean surroundings and food; 
  • Hopping on the digital wave, artists and musicians, fitness studios and museums have taken their businesses online. From providing online classes and live shows to virtual tours, you could subscribe or purchase a membership and enjoy the service from the comfort of your own home; 
  • Now that there are limitations on your outings, people are looking to online retailers and websites. Most of your local retail and gift shops also have online stores available. You could order products (though it may not be available for delivery) or purchase gift cards for yourself and your family that can be used later on; 
  • In case you’re short this month, don’t worry. Writing reviews online is the easiest way to contribute. Try to use social media to your advantage as well. While it may not seem like much, it helps a great deal. Sharing your previous experiences or giving them a shout-out on your social media gives them exposure that can benefit them in the future. 

By now, the impact of SMEs on our economy and our lives is clear. Working together may be the only way to help these businesses, and therefore, the economy. 

Tanya Jacob

Author Tanya Jacob

More posts by Tanya Jacob