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How Baltimore-area businesses are shifting toward digital amid coronavirus pandemic

With Maryland bars, restaurants, movie theaters and gyms closing indefinitely after Gov. Larry Hogan’s executive order Monday in wake of the coronavirus pandemic, businesses in Baltimore are being forced to adjust and find other ways to operate.

For some, that’s a shift toward digital operations. Others are offering discounts on their already-existing digital platforms.

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Here’s a sampling of how some Baltimore-area businesses are handling the coronavirus. If you know of a business that’s increasing its digital presence, reach out to nruiz@baltsun.com.

Clothing stores:

Doubledutch Boutique: The Hampden clothing store is closing its doors but is offering sales of 20% with free shipping or curbside pickup for any purchases made through its Instagram account.

The Parisian Flea: Another Hampden boutique, one that sells antiques and other collectibles, The Parisian Flea is closing its store for at least the next two weeks but still selling online and by phone. Smaller items will be shipped for free, with discounted shipping and delivery for larger items.

Keepers Vintage: A vintage clothing store, Keepers Vintage has closed both of its locations in Mt. Vernon and Hampden but plans to do Facebook Live Q&As with styling tips while selling on the social media platform.

Gyms:

Crunch Fitness: Crunch, with its lone Maryland location in Canton, is freezing all memberships as of Tuesday. The gym is offering workouts on its social media pages and its Crunch Live online platform, available for free to all members regardless of membership level.

Planet Fitness: Planet Fitness has more than 30 locations in Maryland and six throughout Baltimore. The gym is offering free at-home, equipment-free workouts on Facebook Live at 7 p.m. daily.

Bookstores

Greedy Reads: The independent bookstore with locations in Fells Point and Remington will have employees in-store from noon to 5 p.m., but only for the purpose of managing orders that come in by phone or email. The store is offering free same-day delivery for any order within 10 miles of the Fells Point location, as well as curbside delivery for prepaid orders at either location. Purchases made on Bookshop.org will also support Greedy Reads and other independent bookstores.

The Book Escape: The downtown bookstore is closing Wednesday. In the interim, the store is leaving a collection of books on the sidewalk, asking that those who take a book slide a donation of at least $1 into the door slot. Free shipping will also be available on the store’s website.

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The Children’s Bookstore: In Baltimore’s Lauraville neighborhood, The Children’s Bookstore — which along with books for all ages sells games and coloring utensils — is taking orders by phone and online, with free afternoon delivery throughout Northeast Baltimore. There will be workers in store from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., both to make recommendations by phone and for customers browsing the store; browsing is limited to one person or family at a time, with disposable gloves offered at the door, which is sanitized after each customer leaves. Store displays have been organized such that books are easier to looked at without being touched.

Entertainment:

National Aquarium: Although it will be closed for at least the next two weeks, the aquarium is streaming live feeds of its Blacktip Reef, Pacific Coral Reef and Jellies Invasion exhibits every day on its website.

Baltimore Museum of Art: The museum will be closed into mid-April but is posting photos of various works on its website and social media platforms.

Peabody Institute: At 7:30 p.m. every Friday, the Peabody Institute will stream a previously recorded performance. This Friday’s streamed performance is Howard Hanson’s Symphony No. 2, Op. 30, “Romantic” by the Peabody Symphony Orchestra from September 26, 2019.

Sports:

US Lacrosse: The Sparks-based organization has expanded its online resources such as webinars so that coaches, officials and parents who are members for both their individual benefit and that of youth members, with plans to add more weekly webinars or Facebook Live sessions for various groups, as well as more drills, practice plans and videos on the US Lacrosse Mobile Coach app. US Lacrosse will also share fitness-related content that includes home workouts and workout challenges on its social media channels.

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