Here's how to keep shopping local during the pandemic

Some Ottawa-area businesses have come up with creative ways to continue offering their goods and services from a distance. Here's how you can help support some of your favourite spots through the crisis.

Many businesses coming up with creative ways to stay afloat amid COVID-19 shutdown

Ottawa businesses are coming up with creative ways to keep going during the COVID-19 shutdown. (Bryan Eneas/CBC)

With all non-essential businesses shut down across the province, there are mounting concerns about how local shops and services will survive the pandemic.

Some Ottawa-area businesses have come up with creative ways to continue offering their goods and services from a distance. Here's how you can help support your favourite neighbourhood spots through the crisis.

Food and drink

Though restaurant dining rooms are closed, many local eateries have switched gears to focus on delivery. A new online service called Love Local offers meals from chef-run restaurants within five kilometres. There's a $5 fee, and some restaurants offer frozen meals or meal kits. 

Some independent food stores are adapting to the new reality by banding together with neighbouring businesses and encouraging customers to think inside the box. Saslove's Meat Market has teamed up with Byward Fruit Market, House of Cheese and Lapointe Fish to fill local goodie boxes for delivery.

While tap rooms and bars may be closed, a number of local breweries are offering free delivery, with options for curbside pickup so you can enjoy their beer and keep your distance at the same time.

Gift certificates

Some businesses are calling on loyal customers to purchase gift certificates for use when they finally reopen.

Mackenzie Robertson prepares orders of books for shipment at Octopus Books in Ottawa's Glebe neighbourhood on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. The store's owner, Lisa Greaves, wrote to customers to tell them that the survival of the 50-year-old independent bookstore could be in question due to a downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. They have now closed their doors but are working to fill online orders. (.Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

Haunted Walks is also asking people to purchase gift certificates for a rainy day, or spooky night, down the road.

Other ways to shop local

Escape Bicycle Tours is running a spring promotion on long-term bike rentals. For a fee, you can even have your bike wheeled directly to your house. 

If a sewing project is on your pandemic to-do list, Darrel Thomas Textiles is processing online orders and offers curbside pickup twice a week. Customers can choose fabrics online and park in front of the store for pickup and free smiles. They're also offering free delivery.

The Mayfair Theatre is asking patrons to "buy" a seat at the vintage cinema for $150 — and have their name put on it for posterity.

Ottawa Princess Party is going digital with one-on-one live video calls that include stories, songs and games for children. 

Dog-walking service Bitches Walking Dogs has a variety of online classes for you and your pooch.

Kanata North is offering "tech bucks" as a way for people to invest in small businesses in that part of the city. You can purchase them online and redeem the value in local shops at a later date. 

Find a neighbourhood business

Many local BIAs have created "support local" sections on their websites, with links to neighbourhood businesses that need your support. Here's a list of links for Ottawa's BIAs:

The City of Ottawa has launched a buy local campaign and website with more information.

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