CLOSE

Panic shopping from coronavirus has recently left store shelves empty, so some stores are setting aside time for their elderly and at-risk shoppers. USA TODAY

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

体育在线365Gannett, the owner of USA TODAY and more than 260 daily local media properties, is launching a nationwide effort to help communities support local small businesses during the coronavirus crisis.

体育在线365The media company announced Monday a new website, , that will allow users to select local businesses in their community to support by buying gift cards for use at a later time. Visitors and business owners can also add local businesses to the platform.

“We feel that local businesses are such a core part of the fabric of the country and the communities we all live in,” said Kevin Gentzel, Gannett’s chief revenue officer. “They really are a reflection of the heartbeat of America.”

Last Wednesday, Gentzel and Maribel Perez Wadsworth, president of Gannett’s news division and publisher of USA TODAY, wrote a joint op-ed in USA TODAY urging local communities to support small businesses体育在线365 during the crisis.

The COVID-19 pandemic has ground everyday life in the U.S. and other parts of the world to a halt. More than 33,000 cases of illness have been reported in the U.S. and more than 400 people have died.

Small businesses have been hit hard. Many shut down to help curb the spread of the virus, though essential businesses have largely remained open, including grocery stores, gas stations and pharmacies, some with shortened hours to clean and restock. Many restaurants are also open but only offer takeout or delivery orders.

体育在线365Dinner reservation app OpenTable released new data showing just how severe the situation is for restaurants throughout the country. Sit-down dining at U.S. restaurants that participate in the company’s reservation system have screeched to a halt. Reservations and walk-ins on Saturday, March 21, were down 100% from the same day in 2019, according to OpenTable.

You have coronavirus questions: We're answering them.

体育在线365Lawmakers are working on emergency packages to help small businesses cover expenses as they remain shut down while consumers shelter at home and practice social distancing.

体育在线365On Saturday during a White House coronavirus task force briefing, President Donald Trump said he talked with thousands of small-business owners about the crisis in a conference call. He also has spoken with restaurant industry representatives.

体育在线365“I assured them my administration is doing everything within its very considerable power to support them and their employees,” Trump said.

Autoplay
Show Thumbnails
Show Captions
LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2020/03/23/coronavirus-gannett-website-help-small-businesses/2895481001/