In recent weeks we’ve been reporting on some of the initiatives and offerings that Facebook has been working on for small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) during the COVID-19 pandemic and national lockdown.

The latest effort on the social media platform’s part has been the release of a gift cards feature on both Facebook and Instagram designed to help people support local businesses and SMEs at this time.

“Facebook has created this new feature to help local businesses, such as restaurants, fitness studios, salons, bookshops and bakeries as they navigate their way through the COVID-19 pandemic and national lockdown,” explained the company in a press release sent to Hypertext.

Moving forward, people can get involved with the gift card feature by keeping an eye out for a “Support Local Businesses” ad that will appear in the News Feed. Clicking on this will bring up the various merchants that have partnered with Facebook and Instagram on this initiative.

Along with the gift cards, Instagram is getting its own specific feature in the form of Food Orders, which will allow you to order from restaurants and fast food chains on the platform.

“We know small businesses in South Africa have been deeply impacted by the local outbreak of COVID-19, and this new gift card feature is just one of the many ways we continue to support them,” notes Nunu Ntshingila, regional director of Facebook Africa.

“Small businesses will continue to play an important role in the economic recovery after the pandemic, which is why it is critical to help them keep the lights on and save jobs. We know when businesses do better, economies do better,” the director adds.

Businesses and SMEs interested in promoting digital gift cards or Food Orders on Facebook and Instagram can learn how to sign up here.