In small towns — and even big cities — all over the country, there’s a message that should be more widespread than the new coronavirus itself: Shop local.

It’s never been more essential to do so.

One easy approach to COVID-19 is to throw up the figurative white flag and surrender. Give up on any semblance of what was once your normal life, place yourself in a sanitized bubble and pray/hope you can survive this crisis.

While hoping and praying are important, and that sanitized bubble is advised, in a way, there’s a way to press forward.

Most of us aren’t completely broke yet, although this feels like impending doom to our dwindling dollars.

Let’s be smart and let’s be frugal, but let’s also be mindful of our area’s small businesses that depend on us.

Sure, it’s natural to want to cling to every last penny we possess — and our basic needs trump our wants now more than ever, perhaps.

Some places have shut their doors, and we certainly hope not for good.

But many are still open for business.

Most of us still depend on the internet for information at this time, too, and if not, hopefully you’re relying on the product you hold in your hand.

One way and/or the other, you’ll be informed. “Ashland, KY” on Facebook is one of several good landing spots to find places in operation.

Among restaurants offering carry-out, according to that page, are the following: Bella Fonte, Clark’s Café, Jim’s Hot Dogs and Spaghetti, Fat Patty’s, Fuji, Herb & Stone Tea Shop, Giovanni’s, The Jockey Club, Jolly Pirate Donuts, The King’s Diner, Kentucky Hall of Fame Café, La Finca, The Mill Bakery, My Dad’s Pizza, Shogun, Suplex Tacos, Tipton’s Traditions, Tres Hermanos, The Winchester and Wild Horses Cantina.

You may still order online with DoorDash for several restaurants, too.

So, if you’re rationing food supply at the house, or simply want an evening free of cooking, there are options. And they’d adore your business.

You may just want to hop in your car and drive around to see what’s still open for curbside service, too.

And maybe there’s an item or two at a nearby shop that will gladly supply a substitute for an item in your Amazon cart. Check around and see if/how they’re still operating. Help them out. They’ll appreciate it.

Existing local shops and restaurants need us, and the start-up shops and restaurants that have big plans for the future need us to do our part now, if we are able.

Don’t forget about your local churches, too, that depend on tithes and offerings to keep lights on in the sanctuary.

These are tough times, but with a unified goal to sustain our local establishments, we can emerge from this crisis nearly unscathed.

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