One simple action you can take is to follow businesses on social media, liking and sharing their posts if you wish — this boosts visibility so that they may be able to attract more customers once the crisis is over.
By following their Facebook or Instagram page or signing up to a newsletter, you can also keep up-to-date on any new offers or solutions they offer during the outbreak, such as home-delivery or online variations on their usual services.
Digital support might be particularly helpful for newer businesses, who will not yet have built up a strong customer base.
Home delivery or take-away
In Sweden, the current advice is that anyone who has any kind of symptoms that could be linked to the coronavirus (that even includes a cough, runny nose or sore throat) should stay at home and avoid all social contact until they have been completely free of symptoms for at least two days.
The advice to avoid all unnecessary trips outside also goes for those aged over 70 or in certain higher risk groups, but people outside those groups who are completely symptom-free are currently still able to go outside and even visit open businesses.
But many in Sweden are choosing to practice social distancing (reducing their social contacts as much as possible) in order to reduce the spread of the disease and its burden on the healthcare sector. So it's a good time to choose take-away or home delivered options if you can.
In Stockholm and Uppsala, the English Bookshop is offering free delivery of book orders to customers within cycling distance, as is the Söderbokhandeln bookshop in Stockholm. Both stores currently remain open.
You can also buy books aimed at international residents in Sweden from Lys Förlag. Their book Working in Sweden: An A-Z Guide is currently heavily discounted.
Many restaurants and cafes are offering take-away or home-delivered food, even if they don't normally, so check with your local favourites and consider supporting them this way. Here's a list (in Swedish) from the White Guide, Sweden's equivalent of the Michelin Guide, to food spots offering takeaway across the whole country.
- Stockholm restaurant Sue Ellen is offering take-away lunch for pensioners between 2pm and 6pm, at just 45 kronor.
Mexican restaurant Yuc says: “We offer takeaway and everyone working in the healthcare sector gets 50 percent off, show your work ID.”
Perhaps your favourite fitness studio or personal trainer is offering online classes, or you might be able to continue your Swedish lessons online? If you're able to do so, you may also consider picking up a new class online in order to support self-employed people and small businesses that have been especially hard hit.
The Local reader Stephanie owns Stockholm pilates studio Pilates Via. “We are offering small classes (maximum of six people) online to our clients in an interactive approach. The classes are live, personal and still offer a way to exercise while staying home!” she says.
Personal training studio Good to Go offers martial arts and self-defence-based training, and it's possible to join several sessions online.
Clement Coaching offers life-coaching sessions for women online, and during the coronavirus outbreak is adopting a pay-what-you-can model.
- Gillian Florence is hosting online meditation sessions via Zoom in return for donations between 0 and 120 kronor.
Buy gift cards
Remember, everyone in society — from the doctors working on treating people to scientists looking into potential vaccines and treatments to the people staying at home to reduce the spread of infection — is playing a role to ensure that this crisis won't last longer than it has to.
If your own finances are stable, you can show support to businesses that are struggling by buying gift cards to be used in the future. If you had a booking that's no longer possible due to the crisis, you might choose to postpone it rather than cancel, if that's an option with the company you booked through.
- Asili Photography is offering a 10% discount on all photography sessions to all The Local readers who book a shoot in March, April or May 2020. Email email@example.com to book and use the discount code LOCALASILI10
A nice story
My girlfriend's dad, Pierre, owns and works solely in his gent's fashion shop in #Göteborg. He's the nicest and hardest working guy. Since #COVIDー19 fear has gripped the world his takings have plummeted. Yesterday a regular came in and paid an advance to help him. pic.twitter.com/cAJSXFzL2q
— Matt Robinson (@Astro_Matt27) March 23, 2020
Help those who are helping others
Another step that you might choose to take is to look for the businesses who are supporting their staff and the wider community.
Stockholm Impact Hub, a network and co-working space for social entrepreneurs, has also been affected but is offering support. The company is offering free business development advice, investment readiness coaching and 30 percent off global membership for the first three months for startups working on solutions that aim to help improve the coronavirus situation for those who are affected.
Members of Impact Hub Stockholm will be able to access discounts for essential business services, as well as watch previous seminars online. The company is also co-hosting a free webinar on improving your LinkedIn profile, with priority to job-seekers who have been affected by the coronavirus.
The restaurant Sopköket in Södermalm, Stockholm, is a social enterprise that cooks meals using food that would otherwise be thrown away and offers job opportunities to people in groups excluded from the workforce. The restaurant is still open and has increased the distance between its seats. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, they're also focusing on takeaway and you can get a meal for just 79 kronor.
- The app Karma allows you to buy food that would otherwise go to waste, and during the outbreak they're also offering home delivery in Stockholm. By doing this, you help reduce food waste, support affected cafes and restaurants, and you avoid leaving your house unnecessarily (while saving money).
Thanks to the readers who contributed tips for this article. If your business, or your work as a self-employed person, is suffering due to the impact of the coronavirus, you can fill out this form and let us know if there is some way we at The Local, or our readers, can help. We're happy to share relevant initiatives such as online classes or home-delivery in this article, and can update you when we publish articles or tips that could be useful to you.