A vaccine is in sight, but there’s still a ways to go. Many local restaurants are still struggling despite adapting to the new normal, leaving many New England residents wondering how they can continue to support their favorite establishments while staying safe at home. Here are a few ideas for how you can get started.

Of course, an obvious way to support local restaurants is to continue to patronize them. If you’re not sure what to cook one night, want a break from cooking, or are planning on celebrating a special occasion, order take-out from your favorite local spot. 

Sending some delicious local take outs to friends or family in the area is also great for reconnecting. Why not do a surprise take out night with your friends? Order each other your favorite meal, and eat together over a video call. Sending meals to essential workers or families in need in your area is another way to support your local community in more ways than one.

Often, restaurants and local suppliers sell things like gift cards and other merch. A gift card is not only a great gift for others, but also a treat for yourself once the pandemic eases up. Many well-known restaurants sell t-shirts, hoodies, tote bags, and other kinds of things that make for comfy house clothes, and help your local favorite’s bottom line.

If money’s tight but you still want to show your support, taking a moment to call and express your appreciation, sending a tip to your favorite staff, and spending a bit of time to write positive reviews online are small things that can go a long way.

The best way to support your local economy is through community initiatives and local government elections. It’s also important to help relieve pressure on our local health systems, so continue to keep a social distance, wear a mask, and wash your hands!