Published in El Pais, 9 December 2020.
Here in Toronto, we are in lockdown again which means everything except essential services are closed. Many businesses such as restaurants were already struggling under the existing restrictions so understandably, they are upset by having to close once again. To adapt to this new normal these same business owners are trying to find alternative ways to make money, below are the ones I have been most impressed with.
Gift Baskets. Providing take out has only done so much for restaurants who are trying to stay afloat with almost no income. So to try to make some extra money many have started offering gift baskets with things like special sauces they use and other non-perishable items that they have made. I do not know if it will be enough but there is hope it will.
Outdoor Markets. The government has been more lenient with licensing to allow more pop-up tents to sell goods outside. Many have gotten together to create an outdoor market which provides small businesses who do not have such a large web presence to sell to the public. The one I saw had an entrance where an employee ensured that there were not too many people, travelling was one way and despite being outside masks were still mandatory (here they are only legally required indoors). Of course, it is cold but in past winters we have had similar Christmas markets so shopping in the cold is nothing new.
Outdoor games. This technically is only in the proposal stages but I hope it comes true. The National Hockey League is looking into hosting outdoor games (traditionally played in indoor arenas) in baseball or American football stadiums in order to have some fans in attendance. They have done things like this before and are always a major event. Since hockey is traditionally an outdoor event, seeing so many games playing outside will definitely bring out some nostalgic feelings for me.
This virus has many economically struggling but many more refuse to give up. They are doing what they can to make sure that when this is all over, they still have a business. Good luck to any small business owners out there and may your gambles pay off.