March 13, 2020
It is hard to comprehend the changes to our daily lives due to the COVID-19 outbreak. It has been heartbreaking to watch the things that we value the most—community, gatherings, and shared experiences—be restricted or cancelled, although we know that it is the right and necessary thing to do. Bookshop has postponed or cancelled our events through the month of March and have implemented many measures to protect the safety and health of our employees and our customers (read our previous statement here).
Beyond the health impact, the economic impact of this outbreak is huge. In particular, the service industry, which includes restaurants, entertainment venues, travel, and retail, are taking a hit. We’ve seen sales at Bookshop decline over the last week as fewer people are out and about in our community. We completely understand why this is the case and support everyone in making the best decision for themselves and their families. However, unless we make a concerted effort to support the local businesses that we love—as Santa Cruz has always done—I am worried that when we come out of this, many of them will not be able to recover.
Our local businesses provide tens of thousands of jobs to Santa Cruzans. They donate to local schools and nonprofits, they sponsor our cultural happenings, and they pay important taxes to fund our city services. They need your support right now. Once you buy all the health, cleaning, and food supplies you need, if you have the means, please consider shopping at your local businesses for other needs. Before going to Amazon, think about doing these things to support your local stores:
· Check to see if a local store has a website or will take phone orders to ship items. Bookshop is now offering $.99 shipping of any books to a Santa Cruz County zip code with orders at www.bookshopsantacruz.com or on the phone (831-423-0900).
· Buy a gift card to your favorite restaurant or store to use when you can go out again.
· If you’ve bought a ticket to a canceled arts performance, think about letting the arts organization keep your money as a donation.
· Send a care package from a local business to someone in quarantine, working in the health care system, or just needs a pick-me-up at this time. (Pacific Cookie Company cookie packages are always my go to option).
· If you don’t want to be around too many other people, check to see if your favorite store has early morning or late night hours and shop when there are fewer customers in the store. (Bookshop is open until 10:00pm Sunday-Thursday, and until 11:00pm on Friday and Saturday.)
· Order food from local restaurants for delivery or ask if you can still come in but space chairs farther apart.
· Still buy that birthday present for the party that was cancelled, buy entertainment items for all that time at home (great time to cook and play games) and read. As Ibram X. Kendi just said, “As we practice social distancing, let’s not distance ourselves from books. They will keep us company and connect us back to people, back to society.”
After the 1989 earthquake, when the downtown was mostly destroyed, the streets were unpaved and shops operated out of tents, Santa Cruzans rallied together to help save the businesses that they loved. It is precisely because people value local businesses in Santa Cruz that makes this place a great place to do business. I know we can rally together to support our local stores, the stores we love. All of us in local business thank you for being there for us as we try to be there for you.
Casey Coonerty Protti & Bookshop Santa Cruz