Please, don’t let your local businesses die on your watch
I love my local community. It's a small village close to the city but has still somehow maintained an old-fashion family-friendly vibe.
Our local cafe is a home away from home. Our youngest literally grew up there. Her first visit was as a two-day old when we were on the way back from the hospital and my wife needed "real" coffee. The owner is a close friend who babysits our kids when we are desperate.
My six-year-old son and I go to the same barber. He's been going since before he could walk. We wait in line together and afterwards he gets to pick a lollipop.
My kids love coming to the local butcher. They get a free frankfurter sausage every time we go in. Last year my son drew them a picture for Christmas and they stuck it up on their wall.
Our accountant waves to us as we cross the street. The local fruit shop sells surprisingly well priced flowers whenever I'm in trouble.
In summer the restaurants spill into the streets while the kids run around a fountain in the centre of town.
There's a rainbow park bench and a rainbow crossing right next to it, which our kids know is because we are lucky to have so many rainbow families in our community.
Occasionally the Italian restaurant hosts Opera nights. One year my wife and I skipped our work Christmas party and ordered a bottle of wine at a small local bar, listening to them sing Les Miserables in the rain.
The entire community recently mourned the death of a local cat named Smudge. You can buy T-shirts and coffee mugs with his face on it now.
As with many inner-city areas, we don't have big homes, so the entire suburb has become a giant yard for my kids.
This is more than my community. It's my home.
And when we talk about the economic hardship we're about to face when dealing with the coronavirus and economic downturn, we're talking about my neighbours.
Many of us are working from home and following the best advice for social distancing, but that is coming at a real cost to these small businesses that made my community such a wonderful, inclusive place.
This is going to be a tough year. We will watch loved ones get sick. Or worse.
Jobs will be lost. Communities will be crushed.
But it offers me hope to see my local businesses try to adapt to the changing circumstances.
The local toy shop is now offering home deliveries for parents wanting a new boardgame to entertain the kids during lockdown. Our favourite cafe has extended her hours to keep serving take away coffees for those of us working at home. And when my wife and I found ourselves working from home on our ninth anniversary, we called up our amazing award-winning local restaurant, who just so happened to introduce a take away menu.
So if you love your community - like I love mine - then please do your best to help your local businesses.
Grab that coffee from the local cafe. Pick up a pizza for the kids on a Friday night. And buy those flowers from the local fruit shop after your wife surprises you with an anniversary present even though she promised we wouldn't do gifts this year.
You can stay safe and still put money into your local community.
Nick Calacouras is News Corp News360's digital editor.
Originally published as Please, don't let your local businesses die on your watch