A couple of months ago, the United States economy was doing well, unemployment was low, there was strong wage growth and small businesses were optimistic. Now, thanks to COVID-19 uncertainty rages across the nation and the Gila Valley.

Because health officials are stressing the importance of social distancing, businesses are having to adopt new ways of doing things, from restaurants to financial planners, hair salons, banks and funeral homes.

Here in the Gila Valley, government and health officials have been meeting routinely with business owners, not only to figure out how to slow down the spread of COVID-19, but how to help businesses survive these tumultuous times.

Safford Town Manager Horatio Skeete said Wednesday the county, City of Safford and Towns of Pima and Thatcher are currently working on and funding an ad campaign for radio and other media outlets to promote a curbside takeout option for customers at restaurants.

The Safford Downtown Association also released several ideas on how people can help their downtown businesses. They include:

Call or text your downtown business and see if they have the item in stock. We are so used to our routines we forget about many local options.

Call and place an order for pick up

Call and buy a gift certificate that can be used later

Venmo your barber/hairdresser/nail tech an advance and cash in on it later.

Purchase items over the phone to be picked up later or ask for delivery

Promote your favorite store on social media.

Be patient- they may be short staffed.

They had these suggestions for businesses and/or restaurants:

Consider delivery and consider delivery that does not meet face to face.

Advertise your cleanliness standards and extra measures.

Check out www.sba.gov for guidance and federal loan assistance. I know that sounds painful but we don’t know what may be offered in the next 72 hours or weeks and there may be something you can take advantage of early.

Encourage curbside and to go orders. Don’t assume everyone knows your open.

Follow Independent We Stand on Facebook for ideas and resources.

“One thing we can do is support and promote our small businesses on-line and on social media,” said Danny Smith, association president. “Please share special offers, good customer service stories and ways that we can support our businesses as you see them.”

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