BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Many businesses — particularly small businesses — are getting creative to connect with customers virtually or from a safe distance.

Local stores and restaurants have seen a significant decrease in customers coming into their stores.

But they said they are trying to make it easier than ever for people to shop local and also protect themselves from exposure to the virus.

Victoria Clausen from Floral Fetes said there are still plenty of ways to brighten someone’s day.

“We truly understand that this is a trying time for everybody but I feel like this is a time where the beauty of human heart shines the most.”

CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE:

Clausen, along with many other business owners are now relying on curbside delivery, online orders and shipping to sustain themselves.

“Being small brick and mortar it’s so important that we continue to support local and shop local so we’re trying to make some accommodations and do whatever we can to make it easier,” said Cynthia Jones with Wee Chic.

At Wee Chic Boutique, customers can shop via FaceTime with sales associates who are still counting on Easter Day sales.

Alfie Himmelrich, owner of Stone Mill Bakery officially closed at 5 p.m. Monday but will continue to work around the clock to support long-time customers and employees who need to maintain their salaries.

“We’re going to offer delivery services within a five-mile radius of the store so that people who might have washed dishes here can now drive to the customers,” he said.

Petit Louie, one of the many restaurants to offer pick up and delivery options, said it will probably make only five percent of its regular sales.

“It’s people that make the business go,” Tony Foreman, the owner of Petit Louie, said. “We’re looking forward to seeing people in this unusually quiet room.”

The governor announced that all restaurants, bars and gyms must close Monday night, but keep in mind- many establishments are offering alternatives to in-person dining and services.

Check with individual businesses to find out exactly what they’re doing.

The state has set up a website to help small businesses, including those struggling with closures.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Rachel Menitoff

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