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Nassau officials ask residents to do holiday shopping locally with $100 scavenger hunt 

On Friday, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran stressed the importance of shopping local this holiday season to help small businesses recover from the impact of COVID-19. Credit: Kendall Rodriguez

Shop local. Potentially earn $100.

That was the proposition offered by Nassau County Executive Laura Curran on Friday as she announced the second annual "Shop Safe, Shop Local Scavenger Hunt."

The weeklong contest, which begins Nov. 28 and continues through Dec. 4, encourages residents to spend money at local restaurants, barber shops and car washes that are struggling to recover from the economic hits from the COVID-19 lockdowns.

"It's one thing to tell everyone to shop local but we are making it engaging, making it fun and giving you a little incentive to get involved," Curran said at a news conference Friday outside Matty's Toy Stop in Rockville Centre.

The contest asks residents to complete four of eight tasks, ranging from buying breakfast from a local bagel shop to grabbing a sweet from the neighborhood bakery or making a purchase at a local hardware store, florist or clothing boutique.

Competitors must take a photo of themselves, in a mask, at each location along with a picture of the product and a receipt. Entries can be submitted by email to scavengerhunt@nassaucountyny.gov or on Facebook.

All purchases must be made at a small business in same community during a given day, including online or delivery orders. The first person to complete four tasks each day will win a $100 gift card.

The scavenger hunt form and instructions can be found at https://www.nassaucountyny.gov/shoplocal.

"This is all about shopping local and supporting small businesses in our community," said Frank Cammarano, first vice president Nassau Council of Chambers of Commerce.

A July report commissioned by Nassau and Suffolk counties found Long Island could lose up to 28% of its jobs — an estimated net loss of 375,000 positions — by year's end because of the coronavirus and its subsequent economic shutdown.

The study also found that 8% of businesses with less than 25 employees would close permanently because of the pandemic while 82,000 jobs were lost in the restaurant and hospitality industry and another 52,000 in retail.

"Small businesses are in trouble," said Richard Kessel, chairman of the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency. "They are barely keeping themselves alive. We need to give them that lifeline."

Meanwhile, the Discover Long Island and the Suffolk County Alliance of Chambers Inc. have kicked off "Shop Small Long Island," a $30,000 multimedia marketing campaign to promote local businesses and contribute to the COVID-19 recovery efforts.

"The idea is to tap into our local civic pride and civic responsibility to say that this holiday season our downtowns need our support more than ever," said Kristen Jarnagin, president and chief executive of Discover Long Island. "And shopping small is really important."

The tourism promotions agency also has released a new You Tube series and podcast to promote the efforts and commissioned Greenpoint artist Kara Hoblin to paint a wall mural in downtown Port Jefferson that will be completed next week and another in Long Beach that will begin shortly thereafter.

The murals, which will reflect the differences between the North and South shores, are designed to drive foot traffic into the community's downtowns.

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