EASTON — Although Easton’s small business community has been hit hard by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many businesses are changing their routines or incorporating new ways of serving customers during these unprecedented times.

As part of this effort to connect customers with the small businesses that need them most, Discover Easton has rolled out its Local Business Gift Card program, an online portal where visitors can buy gift cards or certificates to their favorite locally owned businesses while practicing social distancing.

“Although this is uncharted territory for everyone involved, we felt the need to act quickly to support our small businesses,” Discover Easton Executive Director Ross Benincasa said. “But what has really stood out to us has been the support from the greater Easton community. We already have gift card orders coming in from other states and are nearing $2,000 in purchases after just 72 hours.”

In addition to offering the gift cards for locally owned businesses, Discover Easton is absorbing all credit card fees and delivery costs to customers who buy the gift cards. This means all money spent through the portal goes directly to the small business in need.

To help patrons find food from local restaurants, Discover Easton has created a list of Easton restaurants offering carryout service for the foreseeable future.

“These are difficult and uncertain times, but it’s been heartwarming to see that our town is determined to face the challenges together,” Discover Easton Marketing and Events Coordinator Jeff Lankford said. “We are going to work hard every week to find new ways to offer our support to the entire Easton community.”

Talbot County has convened an Operational Working Group made up of officials from the Talbot County Health Department, Talbot County Emergency Services, Talbot County Government, Talbot County’s towns, University of Maryland Shore Regional Health, law enforcement agencies and many other community partners, including Discover Easton. This group is monitoring this evolving situation closely and will release information each weekday to share any updates affecting the citizens of Talbot County.

For more information and ways to support Easton businesses, visit www.discovereaston.com. Follow Discover Easton on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @discovereaston.

Discover Easton is a marketing, promotion and events nonprofit organization operating as a member of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation. The mission of Discover Easton is to enhance, promote and preserve the vitality of Easton’s independent merchants, which benefit business owners, residents and visitors; and to bring awareness to the town’s historical roots and lifestyles.