SOMERVILLE, NJ - Joined by a spirited band of merchants and restaurateurs who have been up to the challenge since the COVID-19 pandemic forced many businesses to limit hours, close or modify their customer service, the Downtown Somerville Alliance continues to roll out new programs, strategies and encouragement to help members survive the economic crisis.

Weekly updates are distributed to business owners and customers on various social media platforms by Natalie Pineiro, DSA executive director that feature information supplied by the merchants and restaurants as well as updates from county, state and federal agencies offering loans and assistance programs.

The most recent update includes news that the DSA will soon be launching a second website, and asks merchants to fill out an online form - https://forms.gle/dVUnoP4omTzkkgLT8 - to be included on the new site. The site will focus on the clever and practical ways businesses have adapted to combat the challenges posed by COVID-19, according to Pineiro.

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Two other initiatives are mentioned in the latest update.

The DSA will be creating 18x24-inch flyers that will be affixed to parking meters in front of those businesses that remain open. Those interested can use the link mentioned previously.

"Please let us know if you are still open for business online, or if you are an essential business offering takeout/ pickup," Pinero said..

The DSA is also encouraging its members to film a short video about their business which will featured in the "Downtown Somerville At Home Series" that will be posted on various social media platforms. 

"We are rolling out a series of short, 1-2 minute long videos to feature Downtown Somerville's businesses on our social media pages and our upcoming COVID-19 site," Pineiro said..

Suggested topics include curbside pickup, at-home projects, classes, fitness routines, takeout specials, giving back to the community, giving back to healthcare workers, online shopping, delivery, safe practices and gift cards.

"There is no pressure for this to be professional," Pineiro said. "We want to highlight you and your authentic self, letting the community know what you are doing for them at this time.

"We encourage all Downtown Somerville businesses to participate - restaurant, retail, salons, experiences and beyond. A few series have already been posted on our Facebook and Instagram sites (Illustrated Beauty, Revive Consignment, Fresh Tiki Bar & School of Rock.".

Video deadline is Monday, April 6 and should be sent to sshaw@somervillenj.com.

Further information is available online at downtownsomerville.com