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The coronavirus pandemic continues to impact our community with significant numbers of new infections every day and the mandated use of face masks when out in public. But some of the most heavily impacted individuals are small business owners.

State and local officials have been allowing the reopening of the economy for weeks now, but many businesses continue to suffer from a continued decline in business when compared to a normal year.

There are ways we can help.

During the long COVID-19 lockdown and beyond, many of us have gotten into the habit of online shopping through sites like Amazon for many of the necessities that could be purchased locally. Now is the time to break that habit.

Everyone – including those with underlying conditions such as age, high blood pressure, diabetes or asthma – can patronize local small businesses. Nearly all retailers are offering curbside pickup. Orders for goods can be placed online or over the phone and those businesses will bring orders to customers who drive up. Taking advantage of those services is one way to help get those locally owned small businesses back on track and help stabilize jobs for their employees.

The state’s congressional delegation can help as well. Congress is in the process of negotiating a second economic stimulus package to help mitigate the impacts of the pandemic. Sens. Jon Tester and Steve Daines and Rep. Greg Gianforte are urged to recognize the needs of small businesses and do their best to ensure those needs are addressed in the final legislation for this stimulus.

As with everything in Washington these days, hammering out this second stimulus has become a political jousting match. Much of the first $3 trillion federal stimulus money ended up in the hands of major corporations. Let’s make sure that’s not the case with the second round of spending.

Many local small businesses are still hurting. But they can – and deserve to be – helped by shoppers who choose to patronize them, either in-person or through curbside pickup, and through a well-thought-out stimulus package from Congress.

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Editorial Board

  • Mark Dobie, publisher
  • Nick Ehli, managing editor
  • Bill Wilke, opinion page editor
  • Richard Broome, community member
  • Renee Gavin, community member
  • Will Swearingen, community member
  • Angie Wasia, community member

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