March 29th, 2020
Statement from the Old Town Fairfax Business Association regarding COVID-19:
We are all experiencing a highly fluid situation that changes hourly. This is a hard time for area families, our businesses, and community groups. Small, independent businesses operate on tight margins with limited capital. A few slow days can set businesses back, but a few slow weeks (or temporary closures) can be devastating. It is up to us to pull together as a community to stay healthy and safe while also keeping our small businesses going. They are the backbone of our community – supporting our schools, nonprofits, employing locals, and keeping dollars in our own community.
We need them and they need us.
These are unprecedented times and there is a lot of uncertainty. But one thing is for sure – Together, we will make sure the heart and soul of our community – Old Town Fairfax – is healthy and strong.
Our local businesses have been taking great precautions to ensure their establishments are sanitary and healthy places for workers and customers. Many are trying to respond to the demands of a new environment, their customers’ willingness to support them, all while complying with orders. Some have closed temporarily.
OTFBA has been working with community members, downtown businesses, and local/regional leaders to locate or develop resources to ensure businesses are as stable as possible. Read on for a few ideas that you can do today and what we have been doing so far.
Communicate ways people may help our local businesses, such as suggesting:
1) Buy gift cards directly from businesses. This helps keep the businesses going and demonstrates confidence in the business.
2) Eat and shop local. Fight the urge to buy from national online retailers. Think about how your life would have normally flowed this week and try to support those same businesses in a slightly different way. Buy gift cards or use takeout options (updated list here). Many businesses are offering delivery or pickup for online or call-ahead orders for food and merchandise, even ones that don’t normally offer this service!
3) Donate to business/employee relief fund campaigns – especially those that have had events cancelled and employee layoffs. Join a Facebook group like “Helping Fairfax Businesses During COVID 19” to connect with individuals and businesses most at risk. The restaurant industry leaders in the region have established a website for any restaurant to share their fundraising link for relief. There is no cost and the restaurant will get 100% of the funds donated (minus fees the fundraising platform withholds – i.e. GoFundMe 2.9% and $.30 per transaction). Owners or General Managers can apply to have their restaurant’s link shared here: https://www.serviceindustryrf.org/. Check with the business too, they may have a direct link to raise funds for their businesses.
4) Keep up with our businesses – Follow your favorites on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Subscribe to their e-newsletters. Hours and operations are changing often. We are continually updating our website and social media with steps businesses are taking as well as their promotions. We are adding which businesses offer take out/to go, convenient pick up, delivery, shipping, and online sales. The OTFBA is updating in real time on our social media accounts:
Facebook Page: @oldtownfairfaxcity
Facebook Group: @Helping Fairfax Businesses During COVID-19
5) Watch the OTFBA’s continually updated list for business updates, business resources, area activities and events that are getting cancelled.
6) Get ready to eat and buy MORE local. Businesses need you to stay open. When the time comes for us to go out & celebrate, let’s plan on going big! Let’s reflect at this time of life apart, and strengthen the love for our city, and have a generous heart for the businesses and the people who make our city so special.
7) Give a 5 star review! Yelp and Google Reviews are ways to spread the word about your favorite businesses.
Old Town Fairfax Business Association has an essential role to play in supporting businesses during this difficult period. As such, we’ll be posting and updating small business resources on this page as they become available. OTFBA is here for you! Together, we will make sure the heart and soul of our community – Old Town Fairfax – is poised to bounce back. Please reach out if you need anything – we’ll be actively supporting businesses and our community throughout COVID-19.
What OTFBA is doing now:
1) We’re sending frequent updates with information and resources to businesses. If you are an Old Town business/church/organization, email us if you want to be added to our list (firstname.lastname@example.org). Due to CDC recommendations, our next all member business meeting will be postponed – but we are available virtually.
2) We’ve created web pages that identify where you can get delivery/take-out/easy pick up, deals/specials/promotions, precautions businesses are taking, and other info for customers of downtown businesses to stay updated. Local Press has picked up our notices, here are two examples.
4) We’re part of a regional coalition focused on supporting businesses. We are meeting with staff from the City and County economic development/initiative departments, George Mason University community leaders, Chambers of Commerce, National Federation for Independent Businesses, the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, and others to offer timely resources. These resources are shared on our website.
5) We’re monitoring responses from other communities and organizations similar to ours. If there is a great idea out there that we should consider, let’s do it! We are also sharing our best practices with colleagues around the nation.
6) We are postponing and are reassessing all upcoming events. We will bring people together when it is safe.
7) We are reassessing how we work to find the best ways to help our community. Feel free to send ideas or examples.
Resources for Small Businesses:
Business Benefits Services 844-201-3609 Benefits Information and Employer Guidance
Make My Day CPA 703-352-2549 Accounting services
Pikrallidas & Associates 703-267-2600 Legal services
Transition Family Services 571-243-7992 Counseling services
GRANTS & Fundraising Resources
Quickbooks Small Business Relief with Go Fund Me March 28, 2020
CAREs Act S 3548 March 27, 2019
Fairfax City Resources
Central Fairfax Chamber of Commerce – business resources
City of Fairfax Government — COVID 19
ABC Returns — Restaurants can return unopened ABC product with no stocking fee
Virginia Chamber of Commerce – Weekly COVID-19 Updates