Arlington, VA

A lot of local businesses are hurting during the pandemic.

Any business that relies on people congregating inside is having a tough time — restaurants, gyms, events organizers, etc. The economic hardship has hit ancillary businesses as well: dry cleaners, for example, are struggling due to few people going to offices and formal events.

Arlington has fared better so far than some other places. While there have been some business closures, it’s been more a trickle of closures than a flood.

That is partially due to Arlington being an affluent place with plenty of government-connected jobs that come with a steady paycheck even during a recession. But it is also, at least in part, due to Arlingtonians going out of their way to support local businesses.

The popular Arlington Neighbors Helping Each Other Through COVID-19 Facebook group regularly hosts discussions about ways to support locally-owned businesses, for instance, including a “Takeout Tuesday” thread where members say which restaurant they’re ordering from that night.

Making an effort to support more local businesses is certainly laudable, but we wonder whether on balance Arlington residents are spending more or less than they did before the pandemic. After all, you might be ordering more takeout, but perhaps when you used to go out in person you’d spend more on drinks, offsetting any increase.

Take a look at your spending habits and let us know where you stand.

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