How to Support Small Businesses During Social Distancing

by Michael Scivoli
small business

Update March 17, 11:00 a.m. You can also show support to local restaurants by contacting our Representatives and Senators. Connect to the Capitol switchboard by calling +12022243121

Update March 16, 10:57 a.m. New Jersey, New York and Connecticut have enacted statewide bans on gatherings of over 50 or more people. In addition, bars, restaurants, gyms, casinos and movie theaters will close tonight at 8 p.m. Restaurants can still offer take-out and delivery options. Public schools will be closed until further notice (watch for more at

It’s been just two days since Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla called for a city-wide 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew due to a confirmed case of COVID-19. This came following a call he received from Police Chief Kenneth Ferrante, notifying the Mayor of a downtown bar fight.

“During the curfew, all residents must stay in their homes unless there is an emergency or if they are required to leave their homes for work,” Mayor Bhalla said in a statement.

Mayor Bhalla provides an update regarding directive from Office of Emergency Management to limit the spread of COVID-19 in Hoboken with new restrictions for bars and restaurants, city-wide curfew.

Posted by Hoboken on Saturday, March 14, 2020

In Jersey City, Mayor Steven Fulop took steps last week to enact a similar ordinance, particularly ensuring that bars close by 10 p.m. Since then, things have changed rapidly as both cities each saw their fourth confirmed cases of COVID-19. The mayor will be doing a daily Q*A on Facebook live to address concerns.

Mayor Fulop also added via his Facebook page early this morning, March 16th:

“We were the first in the country (last week) to implement any restrictions on any sort establishments in the city and being that social distancing is the best solution we will be expanding our limitations to different establishments.

‪This morning we are taking the steps via executive order to expand our restrictions that were implemented last week. Effective noon today the following establishments will be closed: ‬Bars and nightclubs that do not serve food. Movie theaters performance centers, malls. Gyms, fitness centers, barbershops, daycare centers, nail salons, non-urgent medical offices including, dental offices, physical therapy clinics, chiropractor offices, and all state-licensed cosmetology establishments.

All restaurants are prohibited from providing dine-in services but will be allowed to do to take-out, delivery, drive-through. These restrictions do not apply too: Grocery stores, cafeterias within nursing homes or similar facilities.”

Amidst the social distancing and self-quarantining, it’s important to remember that we’re not all fortunate enough to have careers that allow us to pick up and work from home. Either by official mandate or simply due to choice, many small businesses have been forced to close their doors temporarily or offer limited service. The sad truth is, this is detrimental to those businesses and their staff who rely on day-to-day operations to support themselves. 

Small businesses are the backbone of our communities. The best way forward is to ban together. Support each other in any way that you can. Here are some ways you can still support local shops and restaurants during this time of social distancing.

Shop Local

Grocery stores will remain open. The best thing to do for our communities is to grab your essentials at neighborhood grocery stores like Aspen Marketplace in Hoboken and Hudson Greene Market in Jersey City. Hudson Greene Market, for instance, is still fully stocked on many essential items and has grab-and-go hot meals for purchase at $8.49/lb.

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Vegan, Gluten Free, NON GMO probiotics

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Order Take-Out & Delivery

Although restaurants and bars are closed until further notice, take-out and delivery are still available at most places–even at some that normally don’t offer such options. You can also support your favorite local take-out options and take this time to familiarize yourself with their apps. (Click here to download the Napoli’s Pizza app.) Other restaurants like Frankie in Jersey City don’t typically offer take-out, but plan to do so soon. Stay tuned for updates as they come.

Small businesses such as Hudson Tablea local interactive cooking and event spaceare also getting creative during this time, offering meal-kit pick-up after 12 p.m.


Shop Remotely

Rather than sinking our dollars into Amazon purchases during social distancing, you can shop online or by phone at most of your favorite stores in town. Reading is no doubt a great way to spend your time while confined to your home. Local bookstores like WORD in Jersey City and Little City Books in Hoboken are closed to public shopping but are still taking orders on the phone for picking up your favorite quarantine reads. 


Buy Swag to Show Support

The individuals that will be impacted most are those in the service industry. Waiters and bartenders who rely on gratuity-based positions are now forced to give up their shifts. There are some creative ways to show support, though. For instance, over the weekend, Hi-Tide Recordings is donating all their proceeds to the Cellar 335 service team with a $25 t-shirt purchase. Follow your favorite local businesses for more opportunities like this.

Take Virtual Classes

The bad news is the gyms are closed. The good news, you can still break a sweat at home. Beyond whatever home regimen you might create for yourself (or if you’re brave enough to go for a jog), many local fitness studios are offering remote classes. Asana Soul Practice and Hudson River Fitness in Jersey City and Hoboken have online and on-demand virtual classes available effective immediately.

Purchase Gift Cards

Some businesses, like hair salons, will not be able to offer grab-and-go type services. The best way to support types of businesses (and any, really) is by purchasing gift cards. Two 01 Hair in Hoboken will be closed until further notice, however, you can still purchase gift certificates for yourself or friends (any dollar amount helps!).

About the Author/s

All posts

Michael is the Editor-in-Chief of New Jersey Digest, COO of X Factor Media, and an avid writer. Growing up in Bergen County, he discovered his passion for words while in Friday detention. Michael loves kayaking, a fat glass of Nebbiolo, and over-editing.

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