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    Thursday, July 18, 2024

    8 ways to support the local economy from home or while social distancing

    Sharon Marr leads an online "Blast Up" fitness class for clients of UP Fitness on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, in Mystic while Gary Upton, right, works on arranging more elaborate camera setups for future programs. The health and wellness business closed Monday in response to the state directives on coronavirus precautions and began offering online versions of some of its programs Tuesday. Marr led the 30-minute class via the online meeting platform Zoom via the webcam on a laptop computer while Upton continued his efforts. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
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    Whether closed entirely or operating in a partial capacity, all kinds of local businesses are suffering from the impacts of the coronavirus. But there are still ways to support them from home, or by going out but practicing social distancing.

    "Part of the problem we have right now is we're all in bed with Amazon, and that's not doing much to help the local businesses," said Tony Sheridan, president of the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut. He encourages people to see if local companies will deliver what they're looking for.

    Trying to remain optimistic, he said, "This is America. We're going to come out of this stronger than ever. The question is when."

    Until then, here are some ways to keep the local economy going:

    Order online from a local shop 

    Plenty of local retail stores, whether they're still open or have closed, have websites that allow you to order online.

    "Why not make every night FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT !!!!" the popcorn store Pop on the Block posted on Facebook on Monday. "Place your order online. Over 40 flavors !!!!!!!"

    Other Olde Mistick Village shops with websites set up for online ordering include Angel Haven, Becca Rose, Bestemors, Naturali, R.A. Georgetti & Co, Sofia's Mystical Christmas, Sticky Situations and Tiger Lily Tea.

    Bank Square Books and Savoy Bookshop are closed but are offering free media mail shipping, curbside pickup from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and local deliveries once a day after 2 p.m. The Bowerbird in Old Lyme also is closed but will ship orders or provide curbside pickup.

    For baby and children's clothing, there's Bluebird Day and Nurture Nest. Some other local stores that allow for online ordering include Coastal Crab, Lee's Toy and Hobby and Mystic Knotwork.

    Buy a gift card

    Between restaurants, bars, movie theaters and bowling alleys, plenty of places are closed but could use some money so at some point they can reopen. Besides, having that gift card can give you something to look forward to.

    The GO Local Gift Card through the Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce can be used at dozens of attractions, restaurants and stores, and chamber President Peggy Roberts said it's like getting a pre-paid Visa. That's a good option for places that remain open, but since the vendors get the money after the purchase, it's better to get a gift certificate directly if you specifically want to support a business that's closed.

    Get a membership 

    Some local places that are closed but offer memberships include Lyman Allyn Art Museum, Hygienic Art, Mystic Seaport Museum, Mystic Aquarium, Florence Griswold Museum and Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center.

    Do a virtual fitness class

    UP Fitness has scheduled online classes for high-intensity interval training and yoga, with an instructor in the Mystic studio and participants video conferencing in remotely via Zoom. The classes are included in existing memberships, and nonmembers can sign up for $10 per class.

    Hot on Bank is live streaming yoga classes on Facebook and Instagram, and those who want to make a donation can do so in the app or Venmo, owner Meghan Smith said in a Facebook post.

    Members of the women-centric Groton gym Crowned Fit have access to at-home workouts and seminars, and nonmembers can message the gym if they're interested in becoming a two-week remote member.

    Buy a local musician's album

    Local artists and bands have found their upcoming concerts canceled, but if they have an album out, you can support them by paying for a download.

    New London artist Daphne Lee Martin has a GoFundMe for her forthcoming album, "The Starter Wife." Local musicians who allow for digital downloads of their albums include Sue Menhart, The Hempsteadys, The CarLeans, Marvelous Liars, Jim Carpenter & The Hoolios, The Brazen Youth and Straight to VHS.

    Reach out to your legislators

    People "are going to want to call their legislators and try to push them to help the small business people survive," said Chris Regan, property manager for Olde Mistick Village.

    He thinks the quickest way to get money back into the economy is for the government to come up with a formula to give out grants to small businesses, whereas a payroll tax cut wouldn't help the people who aren't working.

    Get curbside pickup from a local brewery

    Epicure Brewing Company in Norwich will be providing curbside pickup for growlers and cans from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, and 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday, as will Barley Head Brewery in Mystic from 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday.

    Beer'd Brewing Company was offering pickup at its Stonington location from 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesday and is scheduled to do so again Wednesday, though the company said on Facebook that "with the current situation being so unpredictable, we aren't sure how long we will be able to offer Beer'd beer pick up."

    Beer'd is asking customers to select their beer and pay ahead of time online, while Tox Brewing Company in New London is taking payment upon pickup but will not accept cash. Outer Light Brewing Company is offering curbside pickup and encourages people to call ahead.

    Cottrell Brewing in Pawcatuck announced on Facebook that it would be selling beer to go until 5 p.m. weekdays.

    Order takeout or delivery

    The Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce, Greater Norwich Area Chamber of Commerce, Ocean Community Chamber of Commerce, and Discover East Lyme all have lists on their websites of local restaurants offering takeout, curbside assistance, and/or delivery.

    The Day also will have more information in the future about takeout options and how restaurants are adapting.

    e.moser@theday.com

    Gary Upton, owner of UP Fitness in Mystic, works on a video conference setup in the yoga studio Tuesday, March 17, 2020, in Mystic. The health and wellness business closed Monday in response to the state directives on coronavirus precautions and began offering online versions of some of its programs Tuesday. Marr led the 30-minute class via the online meeting platform Zoom using the webcam on a laptop computer while Upton worked on arranging more elaborate camera setups for future programs. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
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    Sharon Marr launches her video chat application for an online "Blast Up" fitness class Tuesday, March 17, 2020, for clients of UP Fitness in Mystic. The health and wellness business closed Monday in response to the state directives on coronavirus precautions and began offering online versions of some of their programs Tuesday. Marr led the 30-minute class via the online meeting platform Zoom using the webcam on a laptop computer while owner Gary Upton worked on arranging more elaborate camera setups for future programs. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
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    Sharon Marr waves to clients gathering online Tuesday, March 17, 2020, for a "Blast Up" fitness class at UP Fitness in Mystic. The health and wellness business closed Monday in response to the state directives on coronavirus precautions and began offering online versions of some of their programs Tuesday. Marr led the 30-minute class via the online meeting platform Zoom using the webcam on a laptop computer while owner Gary Upton worked on arranging more elaborate camera setups for future programs. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
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