AUSTIN, Texas - The businesses that help keep Austin weird could use a little help from customers after a tough year. The Austin Visitor Center has been putting in extra work to help small businesses in Austin this holiday season.
They’ve already given referrals to more than 25,000 people online.
Local Austin shops and restaurants were forced to close for weeks this spring as coronavirus spread through Texas. More than nine months later, it is still a struggle to recover the losses with less customers from near and far.
"They've been hit terribly hard just like most of the tourism industry," said Julie Chase, chief marketing officer for Visit Austin.
By highlighting more than 300 local businesses in and around the city, the visitor center hopes to help keep Austin’s unique energy alive.
"We know that some have closed. We're doing all we can through our platforms to make sure that folks know which ones are still open, which opportunities are available, and to just extend this holiday shopping season as long as people can," Chase said.
There is even online opportunities for people planning future visits to chip in. "Purchase a tour that you can take with a friend when you're able to travel into Austin. Go purchase something from the bookstore," said Chase.
"So many of these shops now offer such great online opportunities. And, if you are in town, they're providing curbside pickup. So there are opportunities to go out, be safe, and enjoy everything that we have to offer in Austin," she added.
Of course with COVID-19 cases currently climbing in the Capital City, it’s also important to take precautions whenever spending time inside a local shop.
"We want you to be careful and wear a mask if you do have to go out and limit that time outdoors, but make sure that you go online and see if there's opportunities for gift cards that can be emailed to family and friends," said Chase.