TAMPA, Fla. -- As your favorite stores and restaurants are working to rebound from the pandemic, the news of a COVID-19 vaccine coming to Florida is giving small business owners a new sense of confidence.
Many small business owners like David Hansen of Urban Bungalow in Tampa have spent the last ten months wondering if they'd make it through.
"It's a daily panic," he said. "It's waking up every day, wondering, is one of my employees going to come down with COVID? Is one of my clients going to? Am I going to?"
But with the rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine much closer across the United States, for many businesses, it's a light at the end of a tunnel.
'For small businesses, the vaccine is hope," Hansen said. "It's emotional because this is our livelihood. This is our business."
In Florida, Governor Ron Desantis has said that every resident of long-term care facilities in our state could receive a COVID-19 vaccination by the end of the month.
"We need to get them back to normal," DeSantis said. "Getting them back to normal is going to mean so much to those residents and their families."
That's just the first step in a vaccine rollout here in Florida. DeSantis said state leaders are already in talks with CVS Pharmacy and Walgreen's about the COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
But in the meantime, business owners like Hansen are asking people to continue taking safety precautions against the virus, including wearing a face mask, practicing social distancing, cleaning and sanitizing hands and high-contact surfaces often and avoiding large crowds.
"That's the most important thing," Hansen said. "Because if we don't keep our community safe, there won't be a small business around."
He's also asking people to get the vaccine when it comes out.
There are also several things you can do to help support small businesses as we wait for the rollout of a vaccine, including:
- Buy a Gift Card: This can be used now or after the pandemic is under control.
- Use Curbside Delivery: Many small businesses are now launching their own curbside delivery options and will do the shopping for you, ahead of time, when you call or message them online. It's a great way to minimize person-to-person contact and indoor or enclosed spaces.
- Order Food Delivery: For many local restaurants, this can help boost sales. Some restaurants deliver right from the store and others use food delivery apps, such as DoorDash, GrubHub, UberEATS, and more.
- Leave a Good Review: If you're on a tight budget, an easy and free way to support small businesses is to leave a good review on the official social media page for the business, or on their Yelp or Google Pages.