The news of two coronavirus vaccines recently approved by the FDA and already being distributed gives us all a sense that things will improve soon. “Improve” and “soon” are admittedly a bit ambiguous.
In a recent Bedford Citizen poll, we asked our readers when they thought things would go back to “normal.” Normal obviously is a personal benchmark. People who lost a loved one, or have lingering effects from the virus, or lost a job or closed their business will never return to “normal.”
For our purposes we define “normal” as going to school, going out to eat, taking a flight, going to a concert, complaining about traffic, etc. Our (admittedly un-scientific) poll indicated 89% our readers think “normal” will be achieved sometime in 2021. Close to 50% think “normal” will be achieved this summer.
This sense of optimism comes with a warning. The current case numbers are truly alarming and it is more important than ever to keep vigilant.
What “normal” will look like here in Bedford really depends on what we do in the short term. Small businesses have been hammered in this pandemic, and what they need is a bridge to us getting back to “normal”. For restaurants, gyms, salons, and other small retailers the goal is just to hang on until we get back to “normal.” With the vaccine here it’s a totally different calculation than it was last March.
So, what can we do as a Bedford resident now to help us achieve what the other side will look like? How do we help return to the Bedford we had before the pandemic? I reached out to various small businesses to get their take.
With weddings and proms not happening this spring, florists have been hit hard. Nancy at Bedford Florist said the most important thing is to “remember the small businesses, just keep coming and buying things.” She went on to say ”a lot of our bread-and-butter business has gone away; the corporate galas and other corporate functions are all gone.” She continued though, “I’ve been here 39 years and the outpouring and support here in Bedford has been great.” Flowers make great presents by the way, a great last-minute gift that can easily brighten up a gray day.
I talked with Suzanne, from Suz & Co about their great program “Operation Feed the Soul!” She said they were planning on ramping it up again after the holidays. There are some logistics that still need to be worked out.
Restaurants are really hurting; when you do decide to get take-out, think local neighborhood restaurants. Another idea is to buy gift cards to be redeemed once we get back to normal.
Things that have a membership component are easy: gyms, classes, etc. If you can, pay the renewal just to keep your memberships current.
Bedford’s Economic Development department started the “Buy Bedford” campaign, Bedford’s Buy Local Campaign ~ Just in Time for Holiday Shopping – The Bedford Citizen November 16, 2020.
A recent article, “9 Ways to Support Small Businesses,” in The New York Times November 23, 2020, had some great tips, not all applicable for individuals here in Bedford. The main takeaway I get is to shop local. Tip big! If you order groceries from a local store, be generous in your tip to the worker who picked and packed your order. And help small businesses by posting on social media- the last one doesn’t cost any money. If you do order take out, consider bypassing the big services, grub hub et al. Those services charge the restaurants fees for their service.
So hopefully we will get to the other side soon. What we do now will have an impact on what the post pandemic Bedford will look like.