By Hoiyin Ip
Can you help save mom-and-pop shops? You can, if you’re a consumer, a resident, or an elected official.
Here are two easy do’s:
This is one of the easiest ways to support our local economy, and preserve our community character. Mom-and-pops are the quintessential part of every community. They’re run by some of the most hard-working people, so hands-on that they tend to have a story about everything they offer. These stories become memories for locals, and attractions for tourists.
When you buy local, the tax dollars stay in the city, and are used for local services, such as police, roads, parks, senior services, etc. I don’t think any resident would like to see these services being reduced due to lack of funding.
Some Chambers of Commerce have done Buy Local campaigns, and were supported by cities. But, frankly, running a Buy Local campaign in December is like working on a New Year’s resolution at the gym in January. The Chambers have limited capacity. This is the time for cities and the county to team up with them, run a campaign that would stick in the mind, like the water conservation campaign by Water Districts.
I never saw so many actions across the county since Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order last week to prohibit dining in at restaurants to limit the spread of coronavirus. This is just a start.
- San Clemente Chamber of Commerce created a list to show member restaurants’ pick-up and delivery options.
- Dana Point Chamber of Commerce created a similar list—Dana Point Restaurants Grab n’ Go for all restaurants—and is conducting a survey, COVID-19 Impact on Dana Point Businesses , for its programs and initiatives.
Is restaurant take-out safe? According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): “Currently, there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food. . . . It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.”
Dr. Richard Garfein, guest speaker at Congressman Mike Levin’s town hall, talked about an MIT study on how long the concentrated virus would survive on different surfaces: a few hours on copper, 24 hours on cardboard and stainless steel, up to three days on plastic. So, wash your hands, then enjoy the take-out.
Seriously, I’m touched by the strength mom-and-pop restaurants are demonstrating. Some expand service to grocery delivery, some support their peers by giving free food, and more. Please support these resilient souls, buy extra, and tip generously.
Opt Out of Nonessentials
Some of the nonessentials in a take-out order are utensils, condiment packets, straws, lid plugs and napkins. If you’ll eat at home, can you tell the restaurants to save them? If you’re a city councilmember or county supervisor, can you agendize a serve-on-request ordinance?
These are small do’s. If everyone does them, the money will add up. Thank you! And please share any ideas you have to help mom-and-pops.
Hoiyin Ip is often recognized on the street as the plastic lady for her cleanup work. But she likes to think of herself as a guardian of the ocean. She is often reminded of a quote by former California Coastal Commission Executive Director Peter Douglas: “The coast is never saved. It’s always being saved.”