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Keep Austin Local: What small businesses are doing to keep you safe

With COVID-19 affecting many businesses in Central Texas, this year's Small Business Saturday might be a little more important than most.

AUSTIN, Texas — The holiday shopping season is upon us. According to the Small Business Administration, Americans spent nearly $20 billion at independent retailers and restaurants on Small Business Saturday last year.

But so many local shops have been struggling this year.

Shopping locally is a chance to help businesses that make Austin, Austin – businesses like Waterloo Records in Downtown Austin.

"You know, so much more of the money from any purchase stays in the community and is circulating and benefitting everyone in the community than if someone is buying at a big national chain," said owner John T Kunz.

Kunz said this year has been tough but, with some changes, they're looking forward to having customers looking through their records.

"We're limiting the number of people in the store," he explained. "We are doing temperature checks of everyone looking to enter and, of course, masks are required of everyone."

They are making small changes like others across Central Texas.

"Terra Toys for 43 years had only been brick-and-mortar, so we had never had online sales," said general manager of Terra Toys Sylvia Edwards.

RELATED: Austinites focus on shopping local this Black Friday

They're letting very few people inside and adding a twist to who is allowed when.

"We also have different hours for different customer bases – grownups only between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. every day, and all ages hour between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. every day," Edwards said. "So it is split up to have everyone safe." 

Businesses are making things work, but hoping to let everyone back soon.

"We really do hope for a day soon where all ages at all times are welcome," she said. 

Heading down south, the Budaful Hiker is pushing people to more online sales.

"I got two amazing bosses that adapted, so right off the bat they started doing Facebook Live shopping events on Thursday nights at 8 p.m. It's hilarious. It's fun," said Jon Halverstadt with the hiking and outdoor store. 

They're keeping their doors open for customers who want to see things in person because, at the end of the day, all these businesses are hoping for the same thing – people supporting our local shops.

"Yes, this is our busy time of the year. We want to keep everyone safe but also be their go-to for holiday shopping," said Halverstadt.

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