CALGARY -- All types of small businesses are suffering as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, but the Better Business Bureau (BBB) says there are many different ways people can help entrepreneurs in their time of need.

Closures and cancellations have already affected hundreds of thousands of businesses across the country, the BBB says, including everything from contractors to daycare providers and even dry cleaners and mechanics.

The agency says instead of simply giving up on supporting these businesses, it offers the following advice:

  • Buy a gift card to use when businesses re-open — many companies are offering discounts on these vouchers to use when they are back up and running
  • Instead of a refund, opt for a rain check — if you've already paid for a cancelled event such as a theatre performance or concert, consider getting a credit instead of a refund
  • Make an agreement for future work — when dealing with contracting work that won't go ahead because of the situation, work out an agreement with the company to commit to do the work at a later date
  • Go online to support local — while many stores have closed their actual storefronts, many still have online shops that are still offering products, which can be delivered right to your home
  • Seek virtual classes — if you can't attend courses or lessons in person, many businesses are offering ways to move instruction online, complete with livestreaming video
  • Dine-in with delivery — many restaurants aren't able to cater to as many customers as they would like inside their establishments, but that doesn't mean takeout and delivery services are off the table

The BBB does admit that not everyone is able to afford to pay for goods and services in advance, but that doesn't mean people can't support local businesses.

The agency says people can still write online reviews for their favourite businesses, follow their social media pages and reach out to their local businesses directly to let them know you appreciate their work.