Coronavirus: Local closures, Resources, and how to support local businesses in times of crisis
Written by Annalisa Ciro
All info is current as of 3/16/2020
In the midst of this global pandemic, our local communities and the world at large have witnessed the wide-spread implementation of school and business closures to combat the rapid spread of the coronavirus. In New Jersey, Governor Murphy has called for the state-wide closure of schools effective immediately. He has also restricted restaurants and bars to take-out only; is enforcing a curfews and regulations on non-essential retail, recreational, and entertainment businesses; and is closing nightclubs, movie theaters, gyms, performing arts centers, and casinos until further notice. (Read more here)
So what does this mean for our community and how can we keep our local businesses afloat? Our team at Hopeloft will be taking proactive steps to reduce risks, stemming from the temporary closure of our building in downtown Bridgeton and our transition to working from home.
“We don’t have all of the answers today but I have so much confidence in our ability to ‘be community,’” says Melissa Helmbrecht, Founder of Hopeloft. “I know that our efforts will evolve in the direction of hope and resilience. I know that we will be stronger than ever before.”
Throughout our network, we will be implementing temporary closures, cancellations, and safe adjustments in order to protect ourselves and our community.
Century Bakery will be closed until further notice. We are currently taking this time to ensure our staff is safe and are hoping to begin offering services again as soon as we are able to. Stay up to date on our reopening by following Century on Facebook or Instagram.
Operation South Jersey has cancelled March’s service project, April’s First Friday Open Mic Night, and April’s First Friday Prism Meeting.
Eastern Sky Co-Op has cancelled their yoga classes until it is advisable to resume public activities once again; they have also cancelled their “Awake and Arise” yoga benefit event at First Presbyterian Church in Bridgeton on March 21st, and the new “Rise and Flow” yoga Saturday classes at 10 a.m. will not start until further notice. For now, their “Sound and Healing” events for April 23rd and 25th are still tentatively on track.
Despite these closures and the countless others in our community, it is still possible to support local businesses and help them stay afloat in times of crisis. Here are some tips on how to do so:
If you order food out, take advantage of drive-thrus and curbside to-gos, or call and place your order ahead of time to avoid waiting in lines around other people
Use credit/debit cards when possible; they’re cleaner than cash
Shop small online from local businesses if that option is available take a virtual fitness class.
Donate to a local nonprofit
Leave a positive review for a local business! Use this time to spread kindness and happiness
If you have been affected by these closures and changes, here are some resources that may be helpful:
Free breakfasts and lunches for Bridgeton students. Access info here (scroll down to Nutrition & Food Services Plan)
Free breakfasts and lunches for Vineland students. Access info here (scroll down to Breakfast/Lunch Information)
Free breakfasts and lunches for Millville students. Access info here (info will pop up in a box immediately after entering website)
AC Electric Suspends Disconnections and Waives New Late Payment Fees. Read more here
Comcast is offering 2 months free to new Internet Essentials customers. To qualify, customers must be eligible for public assistance programs. To apply, visit https://internetessentials.com/ or call (855) 846-8376 for English or (855) 765-6995 for Spanish.