Getting Through It


Stories from Others Living with Covid

"Autoguy", Automotive Technician, 49, Dallas, Texas

I worked for Sewell Lexus car dealership, doing maintenance, repairs and replacing parts, for 15 years. We were furloughed in April, and the nail shop my wife owns got shut down.

This is the first time in my life that I've had no job. I've been an auto technician for over 30 years. Two weeks ago, my manager texted me to make sure I was doing OK, which made me feel better - it showed he still remembered us! It was hard applying for unemployment - the system kept logging out, and it took me several days to input all the information. I finally received my first payment a few days ago.

We don't really have enough right now - previously, we had another salon, but that shut down in the 2008 recession, so we lost a lot of money. Our faith in God has helped but only so much. We can’t even go to our church!!!! Now, I help my wife clean the house, and we're trying to make cotton masks to donate to the local hospital. My wife and I both have asthma, so we're doing it slowly.

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"PrettyNPink" (married to "Autoguy"), Nail Salon Owner, 42, Dallas, Texas

I've owned the salon for over 15 years, and we've never had to close in such a way before. Business got really slow the week before we closed - normally we'd have 30-50 customers a day, but by then we only had five a day. It's so scary.

I still must pay rent for the salon - so things are very tight. My husband and I got our stimulus checks last week and it helped a little bit with the bills.

We're waiting for retail businesses to re-open, but it's complicated because we can't keep a six-feet distance from clients. We'll need to wear a mask or face shield, limit the number of clients inside, and sanitize after each client. I think things won't be the same, even after restrictions are lifted.

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"RockinFun", 30, Live Touring Coordinator, New York

I loved my job - it was my responsibility to make it all happen between musicians, vendors, sponsors and ticketing. It's challenging but I love it.

On 12 March, we were told all concerts would be canceled. At the time, a shutdown of 30 days just seemed unfathomable. Right now, I'm trying to work on a side hustle - teaching myself Photoshop and doing some online work.

Working in entertainment means being laid off is not a foreign concept - but normally, if you lose a job, you can get on another project. This is different - there won't be work for a long time, especially for new projects. Even if we do a show at half-capacity, who knows how long it'll be till folks can go to concerts?

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"BottomsUp", 42, Bar Owner, New Orleans, Louisiana

The outbreak totally shut us down completely. At first, we thought maybe we could make batch cocktails and sell them prepackaged, but the state said we couldn't.

For now, I run a weekly online cocktail school to try and create a bit of tip money for the bar staff. We made a few hundred dollars - not enough to live on, but it's something.

I just don't see how we'll be able to recover - we depend on tourists. I'm scared I'm going to become another mom-and-pop shop statistic. And I love doing what I do.

I live simply, but I have two kids, so it's difficult - I haven't had a pay-check in a month and a half. I applied for the stimulus check, but it hasn't hit my account - I'm not sure why. Once it arrives, I'll be spending it on surviving - stuff for the kids, gas for the car, and rent.

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