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Better Business Bureau offers tips on how consumers can support favorite shops, services during COVID-19

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As COVID-19 hit many businesses hard, chances are your favourite coffee shop or family-owned establishment need help

Now, the the Better Business Bureau is out with some tips on how you can help

"Start by doing something as buying a gift card," Karla Laird with the BBB says

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – It’s obvious that COVID-19 has upended our daily lives with businesses, large and small, all feeling the impacts.

Karla Laird with the Lower Mainland branch of the Better Business Bureau, says the pandemic is hitting members hard.

“We’re looking at the fact that many of them have had to close their doors because they are services that are interfacing with the public and possibly on a much larger scale than what is allowed at this point,” she explains.

She adds layoffs are becoming common and that she knows of at least two businesses that have closed their doors completely. Laird says fraudsters aren’t helping either.

“So, because we’re at home now and we are getting more accustomed to text-based communication, just keep a lookout for anyone that is impersonating a business in your area or a franchise in your area.”

But there are ways you can pitch in. “Start by doing something as buying a gift card. Many businesses are considering or actually offering gift cards at discounts, so you can possibly reach out, get yourself a gift card, and hold on to it for when things are back up and running again.”

If money is tight, Laird says consider writing an online review or sharing a positive experience on social media.

“Even just picking up the phone, calling that business owner, letting them know that, hey, you really enjoy their product or their service the last time you were there and that you’re willing them through this difficult transition.”

A recent survey of small businesses finds many of them don’t think they will last a month. That’s why the Canadian Federation of Independent Business is calling for a big increase in federal wage subsidies: at least 75 per cent of wages from the promised 10 per cent and up to $5,000 per worker per month instead of about $1,400.

– With files from Richard Dettman