SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Mayor Al Smith released his "Four-Point Scotch Plains Small Business Survival Plan" late Monday, as the town faces, in his words, "one of the most challenging times in its history."

"I have seen countless examples of people coming together to help one another, and I am certain we will get through this and come back stronger than ever," Mayor Smith wrote in a Facebook post. "But there is no doubt that until this passes, our local businesses will face severe hardships... I don’t want Scotch Plains to lose a single small business due to the coronavirus."

Mayor Smith's plan consists of the following:

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1) The Scotch Plains Business Resource Group
Mayor Smith is strongly encouraging all local business owners to join the Scotch Plains Business Resource Group. It was founded by local community and business leaders to provide information and resources to Scotch Plains small businesses to help them navigate the SBA loan and debt relief programs currently being offered at the state and national levels. Visit the group's Facebook page.

2) Takeout Two
The mayor encourages everyone to takeout at least two meals a week from local restaurants. "With over 8,000 households in town, if enough people follow this, our restaurants will have an increased chance in staying open until the stay-at-home order is lifted," wrote Mayor Smith, who says he has been taking out food as much as possible recently.

3) Gift Cards for Graduation
Many businesses besides restaurants in town are impacted by the coronavirus shutdown. With school graduation approaching, the mayor hopes that residents will reach out to local businesses that offer gift cards (online or in person). "Not just restaurants, but florists, butchers, and others. Buy one for your upcoming graduate, regardless of his or her age," the mayor wrote.

4) Tip Twenty Percent
Mayor Smith says that "Many local businesses are operating with reduced staff, and those who are still working often have fewer hours." For businesses where the employee’s wage is dependent on tips, he urges people, where financially possible, to tip a minimum of 20% to help out people with a reduced income. "A couple extra dollars can go a long way when we’re all doing it together."

Mayor Smith acknowledged that "this is new territory for us all" and invited people to contact him if they have other suggestions.

"Stay positive and let's get through this together -- six feet apart!"

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