Stories from our communities: Part three

In the beginning of the semester, reporters for The Union in Journalism 14 decided to go into our communities and report on how the COVID-19 pandemic was impacting the people and businesses around us. After a semester of studying journalism, the Journalism 1 class has written their own collaborative piece.

Even as we collectively hope for the pandemic to end, it persists. While it may seem forgotten or like “old news” we are still experiencing Stay-at-Home orders and statewide curfews, and our communities continue taking the blunt of the seemingly never-ending coronavirus.

Paramount and Chico, CA

By: Elisa Albarran

Coronavirus has impacted everyone’s life, as death counts rise and the pandemic continues with no available vaccine, safety precautions and adapting to a new lifestyle are necessary to remain safe during these uncertain times.

Brandy Thomas is a 31-year-old mother of two living in Chico, California. Many changes have happened in her life since the pandemic. Besides multitasking as a mother and tutor, helping her children adjust to online learning. Thomas herself must adapt as a college counselor to help students that need guidance virtually.

Like Thomas, Danella Yabarra has also made many changes in her life due to COVID-19. Yabarra is a 26-year-old student from Paramount, California. She works her full time job and goes to school at El Camino College. Yabarra must stay safe by taking extra precautions at her job at Extended Stay American hotel by wearing a mask and sanitizing her work place.

Like many working parents, Thomas’ life was much different before Coronavirus hit her community, she said.

“Life was going good pre-Covid, I loved going to work and meeting face to face with my students,” Thomas said.

 Thomas works as a community guidance counselor at Butte college in Chico, California.

“What I enjoy most about my job is helping students feel more confident in themselves,” Thomas said.

Scheduling in-person appointments was the most effective way to reach out to her students and help support them in their college journeys.

Since COVID-19 many schools have closed down, including Butte college in Chico, California. Thomas’s career as a community college counselor has impacted her ability to reach out to students since switching from in-person to remote counseling.

“I have noticed dropout rates are really high and many students have decided to take the fall semester off,” Thomas said.

Thomas worries for students because they are not able to have the in person support they once had before COVID-19, she said.

In addition to the new virus having a major effect on Thomas’s work, her personal life has faced many changes too.

Thomas is also a mother of two young children, 5-year-old Jackson and 3-year-old Salone. 

“My son was just starting kindergarten, and my daughter would go to daycare while I was at work,” Thomas said. “Then, after work my husband or I would get the kids, go home, relax and eat dinner, that was a regular day for us.”

“I miss nights out with my husband, and hanging out with friends on weekends,” Thomas said. “my kids miss interacting with other kids their age.”

Thomas and her kids must sacrifice interaction with friends in order to lower the risk of her and her family getting sick. She said she fears people will continue to disobey the new protocols issued to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

“One thing that I have learned during this whole pandemic is how selfish people can be,” Thomas said. “Even after everything is over I still don’t think I will be able to truly trust that anyone is safe.”

Just like Thomas, Danelle Yabarra’s life was normal, Yabarra was busy before the pandemic, balancing her work and school life.

“I had two jobs and was taking classes on-campus at El Camino College,” Yabarra said.

A normal day for Yabarra before COVID-19 included her job at Rubios in Lakewood, California and attending classes.

“Since the pandemic I quit this job and wanted to focus on freelancing as a sign language interpreter,” Yabarra said.

Since the pandemic, Yabarra has lost her freelance job as a freelance American Sign Language interpreter.

“With Covid it was hard to meet in person with clients that needed interpreting,” Yabarra said. “ I lost that job but I am currently working at a hotel as a front desk receptionist.”

Yabarra was able to get a job at the Extended Stay America hotel in Anaheim. She feels fortunate to be able to get a job during these uncertain times because she knows so many people are struggling to make an income during the pandemic.

Yabarra has had to sacrifice her personal life just like Thomas has to keep herself and her family safe.

“I loved going on hikes and staying out late with my friends,” Yabarra said. “I’ve lost contact with some of my friends due to Covid.”

Even though the pandemic has made Yabarra change her daily routine, she said she’s glad she has been able to adjust to the new lifestyle.

“I wear a mask everyday, I have to keep multiple in my car to switch them out for work.” Yabarra said, “I also get my temperature check daily.”

Yabarra has made adjustments in her life to be safe at work during COVID-19. One positive message  Yabarra has taken from the pandemic is the importance of appreciating the people she has in her life, she said.

“After losing contact with friends, no call or text from them made me realize how much I appreciate the people who check up on me,” she said.

As the pandemic continues Thomas and Yabarra are left with only hope that in the future things will return back to normal.

“I think things will return back to normal some day,” Yabarra said. “ Now we just wait and see what’s to come, I have hope,” Thomas said.

Trevor Anderson/ Special to The Union

ET Surf, Hermosa Beach

By: Trevor Anderson

Hermosa Beach stores, like this long lasting surf shop, ET Surf, have recently begun opening their doors to the public, allowing masked customers to come in and shop during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Retail employee, River Brainard, 24, of Torrance, is excited to be back working face to face with customers after spending months not working in order to keep safe.

“It’s nice to be able to continue serving and helping so many familiar faces again in this small community of surfers and skateboarders,” Brainard said.

Because Brainard had prior health problems, he opted to take several months off during the height of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Our shopping experience has really changed a lot since this all started,” Brainard said. “Right now we are finally able to let people come in as long as they have a mask and are able to maintain social distance in the shop.”

Brainard said COVID-19 affected not only his own work life, but the lives of others.

“It really is unfortunate that so many people in this country went months without being able to work, some even lost their jobs, I know that each and everyone of us working here are particularly grateful to still have our jobs and to still be working almost as it once was before the pandemic hit,” Brainard said.

Tommy Dietz, 24, of Redondo Beach, a retail employee of the store, worked through the entire pandemic serving customers via a “side-door service” in order to keep everyone, and everything, clean and safe.

While no one was allowed inside, a bit of creativity was involved in order to allow business to remain stable.

“We spent months posting hundreds of photos on Instagram showing all of our product, and when the shop needed it most, the people here stepped up to keep us from having to shut the doors,” said Dietz.

This store is an essential part of the South Bay surf and skate scene and has been open and operated by the same owner for going on 50 years this coming summer.

“We really do owe a lot of credit to all the people who have remained loyal to us through all this and continued purchasing stuff over the phone for months while we weren’t able to let people in,” Dietz said.

Because the shop stocks, sells and fixes electric bikes, they were by law able to remain open as an essential business.

“Because the beaches here were closed for months, our usual business changed from selling surfboards everyday to selling tons of skateboards, bikes, and clothes,” he said. “With everything closed, people didn’t have much else they could do.”

Kyle Brown, 25, from Manhattan Beach, has been a retail employee at the store for several years and he has also worked throughout the entirety of 2020, despite the struggles that came with this year. 

“Looking back it’s actually pretty surreal that all of this has happened this year and we were able to make the best of the hand we were dealt,” Brown said.

Brown said he knows that although they are now able to let customers in to shop, there are some rules they must all follow in order to keep the community safe.

“The mask thing was an obvious one and something that not too many people who are coming in to shop have a problem with,” Brown said. “But there have been a few who have refused to wear one, and there’s nothing we can do but deny their business.”

Hopeful for the future of the store, Brown, a surfer, said he knows just how important this little surf shop is to so many in the area. 

“This place is different than going shopping at a Best Buy, here we mostly see the same faces every day. The people who come here do so because they love the store and they care about saving a small slice of history that has been here for so many years,” Brown said. 

It is obvious to Brown that the people shopping at this over-packed and grimy store are doing so because they care and they know their money is going into the hands of people just like them, people who are extremely passionate about the same things they are, he said.

“This place has been here for so long and it has always had a real family atmosphere, and to me, that is what makes it so special and welcoming. Whether it’s your first time in the store, or you’ve been shopping here for 50 years, everyone gets the same high level of respect and courtesy,” Brown said.

Palacios Beauty Salon, Hawthorne

By: Angel Garcia

Brisk low winds pass by, dogs bark and horns blare as the trace of gasoline quickly passes by. A small plaza on Rosecrans Avenue hosts a beauty salon, safely open for business. 

Palacios Beauty Salon, owned by 44-year-old Mary Palacios, has been “servicing the community” for over a year and offers more than the average beauty salon, Palacios said. 

28-year-old Jenner “JV” Castillo has been a barber for Palacios Beauty Salon for over three months and has been conducting an appointment-only approach while following the county’s COVID-19 safety guidelines.

However, Castillo did not start his career at Palacios. Before the pandemic began, Castillo worked at a barbershop just a couple of blocks down from Palacios for about eight years.

Caballero Barbershop was the spot where everyone came in for a fresh-cut. From local residents to out-of-town residents, they all come in to get a haircut from Castillo, he said.

“I have clients from all ages, kids, teens, parents, and even seniors.” Castillo said. “Parents would bring in their kids to get a cut, including themselves so some people had to wait a couple of hours.”

First-come, first-served basis was the way to Castillo’s barber chair. “Everyday that I was scheduled to work. I would see a line of people just waiting for me to come in before the shop was even open,” Castillo said. 

After the mandatory quarantine was in full effect, Castillo acted quickly and decided it was best to become a freelance barber and cut from his father’s garage in a makeshift mini-barbershop, where Castillo and his brother first began cutting hair.

“I gave my dad half of what I made to help him out and he loved my clients coming through. I got a call from Caballero to return to work but I decided that I wasn’t going back.” Castillo said.

Late-June was all about heat-waves. From wildfires, to hundreds of pesky flies buzzing outdoors, waiting for an open door to intrude homes. The hot sticky weather hit Castillo’s garage but nonetheless, he fought to make his client’s experience enjoyable.

“I bought two flat-screen TVs, installed cable to watch sports, movies or news, offered my clients cold beverages and took a COVID-19 test to make sure I was good to go.” Castillo said.

When Castillo made the announcement to his social media that he was cutting hair by appointment only, the word spread out and people quickly booked him, keeping him busy for two months until renovations were scheduled for his father’s house.

“I told my clients I wasn’t going to be cutting at my dad’s house for a while and luckily, one of them reached out and told me they knew someone who could help.” Castillo said.

Although the renovations were temporary, a client of Castillo told him about a beauty salon that had a spot available for a barber and knew the salon’s owner. Castillo called Palacios and reserved a place in her beauty salon.

“She’s [Palacios] real cool. I told her about my situation and about who told me about her and let me come in immediately.” Castillo said. “I paid my dues for the spot and am able to keep my clients.”

Castillo said he envisions himself owning his own barber shop eventually, employing his former coworkers from previous shops. Although he resides in Downey CA, he plans to open a shop in the South Bay since he built most of his clientele from there. 

This year’s pandemic has changed many people’s lives and careers. Luckily for Castillo, his clientele base increased over the year as he was nearly the only barber available in town while practicing COVID-19 safety guidelines.

“Based on what I do for a living, I feel like my job won’t change as much as others that are affected by COVID-19.” Castillo said. “People will always need a haircut so there will always be work for me.”

Skyline Recreation Center, San Diego

By: Manuel Guzman

From community parties to group activities and free recreational classes, the community center at Skyline was a pillar for the community. As the pandemic shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon, the quiet and sad stillness in the empty Skyline community center has felt very reminiscent to what one can only describe as ancient ruins of a time once known and lived.  

Footsteps echo throughout the big empty rooms and the dust cladden tables and chairs offer an insight on how long it has been since the last community event. Janice Torres, the community center manager said the community has suffered from the indefinite closure of the community center.

“We used to have events almost everyday, from poker games, to line dancing, and yoga, it’s been very difficult for many people to adjust now that the center is closed, for many people this was their source for socializing and they’ve been very upset since it closed, some members have tried advocating to have it opened for small events but legally that is not an option,” Torres said. 

The community center did not only hold free weekly group events, but it also served as the location for the seasonal parties that were thrown by the social club. The last party that was held in the community center was the annual Valentines Day party, since then the members of the social club have not only been unable to throw events, but the club has also lost members due to the inactive center that has been sitting empty. Social Club President, Jeff Schwartz, has attempted to hold remote club meetings throughout the year. 

“We have been losing members throughout the year because there isn’t anything going on, I try to have remote club meetings but a lot of people are hesitant to continue the club if the community center remains closed, I know we can’t do much with the center but that doesn’t mean the social club has to remain inactive as well,” Schwartz said.

While the center has remained closed, a few members of the social club took on the project of creating a newsletter with advertising to raise funds. The funds raised by the Social Club have helped with the maintenance as well as creating a fund for the seasonal parties, once the pandemic is over and the center is able to open back up. 

“Initially I didn’t think the newsletter was a good idea, I didn’t think anyone would care but we needed something to do, and so far it has worked out,” Schwartz said. 

While the community center has remained closed, Janice Torres has taken it upon herself to address maintenance issues throughout the center. The library has since been reorganized and the kitchen has had a deep cleaning. Hand sanitizer dispensers were also placed all around the center and the Social Club is planning on beginning the process of repainting the center. 

“The pandemic made me aware of how dirty our hands often are, so I had the hand sanitizer dispensers installed and I want the begin painting next, I know the center is not in use right now but I want it to be nice and clean and ready for when it is in use, whenever that is.” Janice Torres said. 

8:30 a.m.| Sun Nong Dan, Los Angeles

By: Hyun Chan Hong

A Korean food restaurant in the middle of Korean Town in a small mall, opens 24 hours everyday and always has lots of delivery orders and outside dining customers. Because this restaurant is open 24 hours, they have no extra time to prepare and are often busy. 

30-year-old Kyun Ryeol Lee works from the morning to night. Sun Nong Dan has another 3 shops in different cities, so sometimes he has to go there and work too. Lee is working as a manager and a server in this restaurant.

Sun Nong Dan restaurant in LA never closed, but they opened outside dining service in June. Before they opened the outside dining, they only received delivery or pick up orders due to COVID-19. 

“We were always busy at the restaurant. No matter its COVID-19 or not, a lot of delivery orders and dining customers rush in,” Lee said. “From the day I started working here, I never saw some day that was not busy. But after COVID-19, it’s been a little bit relaxed because not too many customers want to eat in restaurants.” 

There was no decrease of the staff or workers, but now people can share the working shift more flexibly. So workers can have more time for themselves. However, everytime they need to sanitize tables and other things, sometimes it’s overwhelming, Lee said. 

Despite the pandemic, their sales haven’t dropped. Actually they earn more than before, “because many people can order food through many applications on the phone,” Lee said.

Jasmine Leong/ Special to The Union

Teapop, Los Angeles

By: Jasmine Leong   

Just south of Magnolia Boulevard on Vineland Avenue there is the feeling of a neighborhood that might be past its prime. 

Teapop is an oasis in this desert-land: the neighborhood spot tattooed with tea-themed graffiti and Chinese characters serves customized tea, coffee, and boba drinks.

Walking through their store into the back patio is like walking through a portal to another time or space — people are sitting on their laptops and having first dates on rustic wood tables with mismatched chairs under hanging succulents.

The space is the stereotype of an artist in LA’s dream, tucked away from the main street of the historic North Hollywood Arts District.

It’s not hard to imagine what the space would be like pre-COVID-19, but one doesn’t have to.

Teapop’s Fall Market from Nov. 13 to 15 featured small local vendors on their street-facing space and back patio. Products for sale included masks, second-hand clothing, art, jewelry and other trinkets.

It was a reminder that it is possible to support a community of local artisans while complying with pandemic restrictions. However, many vendors had their sights set farther than their enterprises.

Jennifer Garcia, 34, and Jonathan Gonzalez, 26, both lost their jobs due to the pandemic, and started their business, The Vegan Candle, as a way to use their new-found time.

However, the project means something different for each of them. 

Gonzalez said he is working to grow the business but is also looking for work since losing his job transporting exotic vehicles. For Gonzalez, the hardest thing about the pandemic is “being locked up inside the house.” 

“I’m a person who’s very active, and I have a busy mind. Before I was going all over the place, especially with my job, and staying home has made me anxious,” Gonzalez said. “This [the business] helps ease my mind a lot.”

Gonzalez lives with his family, including his dad who is unemployed and his mom who stays home and takes care of his little brother.

“Right now all of us are unemployed, but we have a little savings,” Gonzalez said.

For Garcia, the biggest reward of the pandemic was earning her master’s degree in education and teaching credential. She started her program in August and will begin student teaching in January.

“It was time. Time to do something to secure me in the future and to have a job,” Gonzalez said.

Although Garcia is very busy now—she returned to her full-time job as a teacher’s assistant in addition to obtaining her master’s degree and growing The Vegan Candle.

31-year-old Megan Villa’s stand consisted of print collages featuring images and text, all stored in wooden crates that had been burned with moon-and-star patterns by Villa’s mother.

This was the first time Villa has sold her art to the public, she spends the week as a branch manager at Hertz Rental Car in Burbank. For Villa, the pandemic has helped her refocus priorities and see what is important to her: family, loved ones, and art.

“At the beginning of the year I made a resolution to write a poem a day, and what a year to do that, right? All the change, all the experiences,” Villa said.

The most rewarding part of this time for Villa has been a greater focus on art for herself and others.

“People are finding art and getting more in touch with their creative side,” Villa said.

Overall, she considers the pandemic “a blessing in disguise, but really, just really hard. I’m from LA, and it’s suffocating,” Villa said.

She has found the political unrest to be the most challenging part of these few months. 

“I deal with change fine. The hardest thing is seeing people being more separated than coming together,” Villa said.

For Villa’s boyfriend, 41-year-old musician Brian Klock, the pandemic means he’s not playing many shows but has a chance to work on his craft.

“I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been,” Klock said.

In addition to practicing, he also teaches music at his home to 10-12 students. Some students are still on Zoom while others attend in-person lessons.

“I like the comfort of home, but I miss the interaction, being one-on-one with students,” Klock said.

While he enjoys the extra practice time, he said “it’s disconcerting, rehearsing a lot but unsure about the payoff. I think there will be more opportunities but I don’t know when.” 

Previously, he played with about five different bands and would play at local clubs. Now, he has had a few outdoor opportunities but the options are much more limited.

“I can’t complain though,” he said. Klock’s unemployment income has helped cover the income he has lost from gigs. “I make the same amount of money but work less, and isn’t that what we all want?”

Kin Thai Cuisine, Long Beach

By: Shirene McKinney 

The coronavirus pandemic has touched many people’s lives, not only those who contracted the virus but also everyone functioning in their everyday lives.  

One of the industries hit hardest by the virus has been the restaurant industry.  Restaurants across the nation were forced to close for a period of time and upon reopening the industry was relegated to 25% of their capacity with the majority of orders placed by take-out and restricted in-person seating on outdoor patios. Keeping a small independent restaurant open in this socio-economic climate is certain to have its challenges.  

Bon Graham, 37 year-old from Miami Beach, Florida, stood beneath the enclosed outdoor patio of her new restaurant Kin Thai Cuisine at 740-798 E. Broadway, in Long Beach. On her 5’4’’ petite frame, she wore a light-blue collared and button-down short-sleeve shirt with cut-off denim shorts and New Balance tennis shoes. Graham recently moved to California after losing her job due to COVID-19.

“My mom always [taught] me, ‘doesn’t matter what happens, always face it,’” Graham said. “Sooner or later you’re going to find your way out.”

Graham was not surprised to find out that she had been laid off from her job as a server in a major South Florida hotel. “The hotel is huge, it had like 2000 employees, and called back only 600 people,” she said.

Calls to return to work were based on seniority, though she had been employed by the hotel for the previous five years, some of her colleagues had 20-years seniority. 

During the initial shut-down, she did not dwell on what was going wrong and kept her sights on what could go right.  She regrouped the way that so many people have been forced to do, in order to meet challenges and prepared her mindset for finding the positives out of the situation.

“I got depressed a little bit, I [lost] my job,” Graham said. She allowed herself a little bit of downtime and kept her mind open to find new opportunities.  

When an opportunity arose in California, she jumped at the chance and booked her flight. Graham recognized the great opportunity immediately. 

“It’s the right time, right moment, why not?” Graham said. She wasn’t going to have another chance like this again and she would never succeed if she did not try.

Graham credits the power of positive thinking that has given her such resolve. She prefers to focus on positivity, looking for opportunities and not being afraid to take risks.  These are three things that helped her get through trying times, she said. 

“Always find an opportunity for yourself and do whatever you can to survive,” Graham said. 

In addition to maintaining a positive mindset, Graham champions her own self-reliance but realizes that part of her strength lies in knowing what she is good at and trusting that her partners will also do their part. 

“They are good with the cooking, I am good with the presenting,” Graham said. “Perfect match.”

Miami, Florida

By: Elliut Medina

After being unemployed for six months, Daniela Maza moved back to Florida with her mom to start over. 

She used to live in Torrance, with a stable job and an apartment, but the COVID-19 pandemic changed everything. Maza worked as an administrative assistant in Del Amo Mall for two years, she owned a car and lived a “normal” life in California.

“It was more stable, we did not see this coming,” Maza said. “I was hoping to get my job again once the mall reopened, but after a few weeks in April I got a message saying that I was getting laid off.”

Being at work consumed a lot of Maza’s time, but once quarantine started she was pushed to improve herself in different ways. After months of staying inside her apartment, she had the chance to work on a lot of things such as music and poetry. 

Maza wrote poems and learned how to play the guitar and the ukelele. “My dream was to become a musician, and the quarantine gave a chance to improve my music, I even have a song written,” Maza said.

Being laid off was shocking news for Maza, she worked there for a long time and the staff was familiar with her. She relied on unemployment, although she was eager to start working again once the mall reopened. 

Once the mall offices started to work again in June, she realized that there was a cut in the personnel, leaving her officially laid off.

 “It was hard, I knew a lot of people [were] getting cut off, but I wasn’t expecting me getting fired as well,” Maza said. “Not many places were hiring, and I was unemployed from March until September.”

Within months, the quarantine had a huge impact on Maza’s economic life, additional unemployment benefits were useful for Maza for six months. Since the quarantine started she did not pay rent for three months, which helped her save money, something she could not do before. She only spent money on groceries, and having a lot of free time at home gave her a chance to think about good investments.

“It was hard at the beginning, but then I did not have to pay rent, it helped me because I saved a lot of money,” Maza said. “It was good at the end, I am doing better now.”  

In Sept., Maza moved back to Florida, to start her life over again. Moving back to Miami, her hometown, was something that Maza wanted to do; the pandemic forced her to do it sooner than planned. Maza stayed with her mom for a month while she was looking for a new job. 

I had planned to move, but I was not in a rush, but I got laid off so it pushed me to [do] it now,” Maza said. “Living with my mom for a month was good, I had the chance to spend a lot of time with her, and she needed me during these hard times.”

In Oct., everything started to look brighter for Maza, she got a new job as an assistant manager in an office for a global shipping company. With the money she had saved, she moved into an apartment and bought her dream car, a Range Rover.

“I get paid a lot better now, my uncle helped me out with this job, and it is the best job I ever had,” Maza said. “I like how I am now, during quarantine I had the chance to finally put my stuff together and I got better.”

Despite the hardship, Maza said that the quarantine has made a positive economic impact on her life, even though she did not have a job for six months. 

“I think we all have to stay positive and take advantage of our free time to improve ourselves, we can get better if we focus on what is really important,” Maza said.

By: Ritzy Mendoza 

Melanie Serpas’ daily routine during a pandemic begins as it always has.

First, she wakes up while her two-year-old son Ethan is still sleeping. She then gets herself ready. Once Ethan wakes up, Serpas showers and dresses him. 

Within 30 minutes, she’s managed to get herself and her child ready for the day. Now, she’s sat with Ethan as they take in breakfast. This is the life as a teen mom in a pandemic for Serpas. 

“Life as a teen mom is hard even through these crucial times because you have to dedicate your time to do work and most importantly your child which is enjoyable but it gets rough when they start to feel overwhelmed or wanting to cry,” Serpas said.

The pandemic has taken a mental toll on Serpas, and said she worries about the future of society.

“How would the future look like with all of this happening? How would my son cope with all of this further into his life?” she said. 

Resulting from her negative thoughts about the pandemic, Serpas recognizes how it is a new form of life, and how humans should learn and adjust. Serpas’ main precautions include wearing a mask and following social distancing measures, priorities she’s taught her son, as well, she said. 

Serpas is part of TikTok’s Creator Fund, which provides her with some income during the pandemic. 

“I am grateful for that because, at least, I am receiving some money to help me cover my financial needs,” Serpas said. “I am a YouTuber but currently, I don’t receive money, not yet.” 

Serpas won’t be paid until she meets a certain number of hours watched on her videos. However, she started her own business customizing flavored lipsticks, eyelashes and other cosmetics. 

“[Starting] my business was tough because I had to prepare myself by buying supplies and getting certified but I was able to cope with everything,” Serpas said. 

Serpas said she made new discoveries and faced new challenges throughout the pandemic. 

“From all of its craziness, I have learned to focus on myself and become my own boss because [in] the end, I’m working hard for myself along with my son, Ethan,” Serpas said. “I am becoming a good example for him, so he could realize in the future how a single teen mom was able to achieve many desired accomplishments.” 

Serpas said that worrying about other people is not worth it. She follows what her mother once told her, “if others are going to fall below the bridge, will you do it too?” 

Serpas said that during the pandemic, people should focus and put themselves first because even in difficult times, there are paths for becoming successful. 

“Be your own boss. Start your own business and be involved in society by making people happy,” Serpas said.

Amanda Myers/ Special to The Union

Charles H. Wilson Park, Torrance

By: Amanda Myers

Amongst the bustling streets of the South Bay, there are quiet parks; stripped of the sound of sneakers screeching and basketballs dribbling, left with only the bare poles where a basketball rim once hung. 

From George H. Freeman Park in Gardena, to Charles H. Wilson Park in Torrance, and all the way to Lago Seco Park in South Torrance; each park has had their basketball rims confiscated in an attempt to lessen the number of gatherings at the parks.

Prior to the pandemic, parks were commonplace for everyone in the community. Parents would take their children to play with other young ones, and teens would go to play sports with friends for free. 

A local resident at the age of 22, named Dylan Peraza, who is a welding student, lives a few blocks from Wilson Park said, “I used to come play with my friends all the time for exercise. Since you know the gyms are closed, right now would be the best time to play basketball but they won’t let us, even if it’s just me”

Peraza goes on to explain how sports like tennis and volleyball are still allowed at other parks throughout the South Bay, but basketball seems to be the underlying sport that is not allowed amongst all of the parks. 

 The reason basketball is banned throughout different parks is because it usually will include a large group of people, anywhere from 2-12 or more. These gatherings of people are prohibited due to the pandemic, since you cannot socially distance a game of basketball. However, in Tennis and Volleyball, you can stay distances apart from the other players and still be able to play the game.  

In Lago Seco park, a group of teenage boys and girls were seen playing a revised game of Basketball. Lana Mejia, a sixteen-year-old junior at South High, called the game “Basketball 2.0.” She said the rules are “pretty much [basketball] but instead of using the rim you aim for the red square on the backboard. So when you hit the square that’s a point.” 

A witness at Lago Seco park was not happy with teenagers playing basketball during a pandemic. Amy Tota, 37, a stay-at-home mother of two; brought her daughter for a walk and was surprised to see a group playing basketball. 

 “It is irresponsible. No masks, and not even six feet apart, they need security or something because this just isn’t safe,” Tota said. 

Security can minimize the number of people coming in and out of the park and can stop the basketball games altogether, without the need for the rims to be confiscated. Freeman Park in Gardena does just this. They have an office and security on duty throughout the day to make sure that basketball games or large gatherings with no masks are not taking place. 

Overall, the absence of rims leads to an absence of players which leads to quiet, almost abandoned parks. However, this is only temporary. There are still other ways of getting exercise due to the gyms being closed like biking, running, or trying a different sport like tennis.

LAX Physical Medicine, Los Angeles

By: Abigail Puentes

LAX Physical Medicine, located in Los Angeles was unsure about what was to come with COVID-19 being spread worldwide. Having to shut down for two months at the beginning of quarantine back in March was worrisome for its employees. 

LAX Physical Medicine reopened their doors to their patients on May 18th, 2020. They offered massages before the pandemic but with the risk of contracting COVID-19, California was not allowing places such as LAX Physical Medicine to provide massages, which drastically slowed business. 

Having worked at the office for 19 years, 50-year-old Lorena Cortes, office manager was devastated when she found out that they had to shut down and was worried about how long she wouldn’t be working due to having to quarantine, she said. 

“Business was great,” Cortes said. “We had a full schedule most days. Our chiropractor, acupuncturist massage and our pain management doctor were always busy and schedules were full.” 

As the pandemic continued, with the loss of patients, days at the office went by slowly and people were getting sent home because there was no business coming in. Many employees went from full time to part time, causing panic about how they would get bills paid.

Shahid Lateef, 39-year-old doctor of chiropractic medicine was under the impression that he would be going back to work in two weeks and everything would go back to normal. With not working for two months, he was becoming overwhelmed with how he would get his bills paid and how he would care for his family. 

“Thankfully, our government passed a stimulus bill to give about $1000 every month to every working adult that lost their job because of the virus,” Lateef said. “That really helped us not feel the pain of losing our jobs and not being able to pay our bills.” 

Life at the office now consists of cleaning after every patient leaves their designated room and sanitizing everything that is touched by employees and patients. The cleanliness of the office is what has kept those that walk in and out of the office safe, Cortes said. 

“Now we have to take all precautionary measures as far as wearing masks at all times and deep cleaning and disinfecting the office thoroughly,” Cortes said. “We have to be careful with each other and with every single patient and make sure they are safe by keeping distance from one another.” 

With professional life changing, everyone’s personal and social life took a turn when everyone was told to stay home to stop COVID-19 from spreading as fast as it was. 

“It’s been scary and uncertain,” Cortes said. “It has mostly impacted my family and I. I come from a big family and we would always get together but now we just text and FaceTime.” 

Despite having to lose time with extended family, Lateef and his immediate family have become a lot closer. Still losing time with family members, he has learned that it’s for the better to social distance and try not to contract the deadly virus. 

“My children are all studying at home,” Lateef said. “We’ve reduced our interactions with family and friends. We don’t go out as much, if at all, like we used to. I’ve missed birthdays with my parents. I wasn’t able to attend a funeral of a close friend who passed away. Life’s definitely been different since it all started.”

Despite feeling uncertain about the current situation the world is currently in, LAX Physical Medicine and its employees are trying to stay hopeful for what is to come. They are trying to stay optimistic and hope business will resume once COVID-19 is not as prominent as it is now, Lateef said. 

“If you asked me this question a few weeks ago I would say the world was coming to an end,” Lateef said. “Now we are nearing the possibility of having a vaccine which changes the whole dynamic of getting back to normal.” 

Despite Cortes believing it will take a couple years for things to go back to normalcy, she is trying to stay positive for the near future. 

“I think that once the vaccine is out and effective, we will be okay,” she said.” I hope that in a few years this will be over and we can start to live a normal life.” 

Although COVID-19 has brought hardships to both Cortes and Lateef, they have both learned valuable life lessons that they can utilize for the future. 

“I’ve learned that there are a lot of foolish people out there that think this is all political. They call it the election infection and don’t wear a mask. I’ve learned that God is great! That we need to come back to him and ask for forgiveness.” Lateef said. “I’ve also learned that we should care about others. That there is a disease out there that you can be completely asymptomatic from while others can die from it. I’ve learned that quarantining is very beneficial to those around you and that God will reward you for your good deeds.”

“We are learning that this virus doesn’t discriminate. It kills however it wants when it wants. What I’m trying to say is that we are all the human race. No one is superior to another based on the color of their skin or where they came from,” Lateef said. “We have to learn to live together.”

Ramiro Rivera/ Special to The Union

AMC Theaters

By: Ramiro Rivera

As COVID-19 continues to impact the lives of many communities and businesses, certain merchants have been ordered to close their doors resulting in a loss of business. Amidst this global pandemic, one important thing for everyone who is locked inside their own homes is entertainment. 

20 year old Ángel Ramírez who is currently an American Multi-Cinema theater employee said the pandemic affects one of the biggest sources of entertainment, the movies in a big way.

“The COVID-19 virus is no joke and we understand that at AMC. We always try to look forward to our guests having a safe and clean experience.” Ramirez said. “Servers that work dine in wear face shields and gloves for extra protection.” 

These are current protocols being followed by many restaurants and retailers. The AMC location Ramirez is employed at is a hybrid theater restaurant, meaning that apart from movies being shown there is food being served. 

Movies being the main focus for AMC’s revenue, there are many movies that were cut from being shown. Those who were looking forward to seeing a specific film had to look for that title elsewhere. With many steaming services such as Hulu, Disney Plus and Netflix, AMC provides its own service called AMC on Demand. This proved to be a problem for AMC due to the fact that some licenses were lost and revoked by the original owner. 

“We had the movie Mulan and a couple of other movies we wanted to show but we couldn’t because it came out in March after the shutdown.” Ramirez said. “Because we could not show it Disney decided to take the license back and show it on their own streaming service, Disney Plus.” 

With the movies being scattered elsewhere, the app did not have much of a selection for people who were looking forward to the theater prior to the shutdown. There were a lot of movies that were lost, hurting AMC’s value. 

“We lost a lot of revenue. We lost so much of our revenue that people started selling their shares. Over 15 million stocks have been sold, meaning that the value of our company has gone downhill.” Ramirez said. 

There is hope for AMC as some locations are starting to open around the Orange County area. They will continue to follow protocols in order to limit the spread of COVID-19. 

By: Noah Rang

30-year-old Cesar Bulosan is a licensed vocational nurse who works in care for the elderly. Over the past year Bulosan’s world has been turned upside down.

The spread of COVID-19 has presented Bulosan with both professional and personal challenges. Bulosan’s role as a healthcare worker has only heightened his experience of the pandemic.

Before COVID-19 began spreading in the U.S, Bulosan was used to a set of protocols that helped him do his job. As a healthcare worker, Bulosan relied on routine to make sure he gave his patients the best care he could provide. With the pandemic in full effect, Bulosan and other health care workers have been forced to adapt to a whole new set of procedures.

“I work in a skilled nursing facility and it has changed dramatically. We have a lot more safety protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Bulosan said. 

The lives of those that Bulosan cares for have also been impacted by new protocols. Elderly patients in nursing facilities who are at higher risk of experiencing health complications if they contract COVID-19 have had to adapt to a whole new way of life. Rules limiting the contact that elderly patients can have with each other and visitors have taken a mental toll on both the patients themselves, and their caretakers.

“In the skilled nursing facility setting, patients cannot have visitors and for the longest time they weren’t allowed to leave their rooms. It was hard to see so many of them deteriorate because of that,” Bulosan said.

Nurses and patients who are used to working closely together have suffered as a result of restrictions brought on by the spread of COVID-19. However, these professional challenges haven’t been the only thing that have weighed on Bulosan since the pandemic began. Bulosan’s personal life has also been affected in a dramatic way, he said.

“I am usually a very social person. I enjoy meeting new people and being around people, so having to refrain from that was hard, and still is hard,” Bulosan said.

As a health care worker, Bulosan has a responsibility to limit his interaction with people in order to avoid getting COVID-19 and spreading the virus to his patients. Bulosan’s emphasis on social distancing and avoiding the normal social activities he enjoyed before the pandemic have left him feeling isolated.

21-year-old Patricia Figueroa, a ballet teacher, is another person whose professional and personal life have been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Social distancing rules have made it difficult for Figueroa to teach her students in the way she was so accustomed to before the pandemic.

“My work got a little more challenging since as a dance teacher we tend to be hands on with students. Sometimes we need to physically adjust students so they can learn correct technique. The changes in our work environment have made things harder since I’m not able to fully correct dancers,” Figueroa said.

Figueroa has not only had to adapt her style of teaching to be safe during the pandemic, but also the way she socializes.

“My personal life before the pandemic was pretty chill and carefree. Now during the pandemic it’s restricted and I always have to think twice if it’s worth it to go out with my colleagues,” Figueora said.

Both Bulosan and Figueroa have faced new challenges during the pandemic that have forced them to adapt their lives. With the rates of new cases fluctuating each day, a return to normalcy does not seem practical within the near future.

“I’ll be honest, I don’t have a clear image of the future after the pandemic since it can swing one way or another. What I’m trying to say is that it could go well or go worse. Honestly the one thing that I’m looking forward to when the conditions are safe is to get out of the house and have a great time with my colleagues and family,” Figueroa said.

“I’m trying to stay positive. With news of vaccine trials going well, I’m excited. I’ll definitely be feeling more grateful at the end of this pandemic. I was doing a bit of stage performances prior to the pandemic, so I’m looking forward to that when this is over,” Bulosan said.

Spending more time at home has given people opportunities for introspection and reflection they didn’t have before the pandemic. For some like Figueroa, having time to think without the distractions of a busy schedule can lead to self discovery and personal growth. These personal explorations can have results that will serve individuals after the pandemic is over.

“This pandemic has allowed me to do so much self-reflection. I think I wasn’t able to realize myself-worth because I was distracted and blinded by the fast pace of my life. During this pandemic I’ve definitely learned that I am capable of anything,” Figueroa said. 

3:30 p.m.| Hair Solutions, Carson

By: Kayin Smith

While certain businesses in Los Angeles county such as restaurants and stores were able to implement new COVID-like procedures such as outdoor seating and delivery/take out, some other businesses were not as fortunate. 

Small businesses in Carson that include barbershops, nail and beauty salons have been hit by the pandemic and a large number of them had to close because of the lack of business. 

Now with the second wave of COVID that is currently spreading, and strict lockdowns are being enforced yet again, small businesses are at risk. However, business owner Kuzee Anderson, of Hair Solutions, a beauty salon that is located in Carson, is determined to push through and keep her business open and operating. 

“Before the pandemic my business was great,” Anderson said. 

Anderson said that she had it good, running her beauty salon out of the garage of her own house.

“I worked Tuesday to Saturday in my hair salon. I was able to pay all my bills promptly and provide for my family. 

Both of my daughters also had jobs and were able to care for themselves,” Anderson said. “Once the pandemic hit in March everything changed.”

As with many other small business owners, Anderson was not prepared for this and things became more difficult when Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered a mandatory statewide lockdown/quarantine. 

“When the Governor closed all nonessential business, I no longer had an income,” Anderson said. “My daughters were also out of work.”

Anderson had to temporarily close down her business, yet they still had bills to pay. Despite all the hardships and uncertainty, Anderson said that she and her family was fortunate enough to find a way to be able to keep her business afloat.

“I had an emergency fund with a few months of my income saved, but I was still very afraid because I had no idea how long this would last,” Anderson said. 

Friends and family of Anderson suggested that she applied for a small business loan, but she didn’t meet qualifications.

“Because I had no staff to pay and I didn’t have a monthly lease payment, I did not qualify,” Anderson said.  

Anderson was fearful at times, but her business was something she has worked hard to have earned, and wasn’t going to give up quite easily. 

Fortunately, Anderson’s daughters were able to help her business.

“My daughters were able to receive a very generous amount of money from the California State Unemployment office,” Anderson said. 

The money that her daughters received helped save her business from having to close down forever, as well as helping pay the bills. Now that the state has reopened nonessential businesses for right now, Anderson said that her business is getting better financially, but there are still some issues.

“I don’t believe things will ever be the same,” Anderson said. “I have reopened my salon but not at full capacity, I only do a limited number of clients.”

Despite all the stress of being able to maintain her business in such an overwhelming time, she still feels blessed to be able to still be here and to be able to operate her business, and said that thepandemic has taught her to never take things for granted. 

“I believe this our new normal, things will be this way for a long time to come, if not forever,” Anderson said.

Alondra Golf Course, Lawndale

By: Vincent Valerio

As COVID-19 continues to linger in people’s everyday lives, one area that has been affected in somewhat of a positive way has been the world of golf. 

At El Camino’s local Alondra Golf Course, business has been quite different than before the pandemic, and even now the employees and the customers still have not fully adapted to this new way of life.

Before the pandemic, things were not as busy, before days were relaxed, employees would check in their regulars, help people in the pro shop, and occasionally manage the area, but now because of the pandemic, the sport of golf is up 30%.

A lot of changes have become of this golf course, some in rules, and some in the crowd. Because of the increase in golfers, a lot more people have been coming to the course. The driving range, which was usually half full during the day and night, has become one of the top things to do locally as it almost never ceases to not be full after 2pm.

The course closed in March like almost every other “non essential” business in Los Angeles County, upon reopening in mid May, the course itself has not been the same. With a lot of new regulations and safety standards, the course could only have so many people on the premises at one time. Customers coming in would only be able to play golf if they had a reservation and a mask.

With people first being turned away left and right due to the lack of room and lines to the parking, lot of people want to make a reservation, something the employees had never seen before.

“I originally started working here two years ago because it was a nice little job and I could play golf for free,” Tom Desmond, a former employee at Alondra Golf Course, said. “Now with all these rules and people I’m still here for the same reasons, I just have to work a little harder for it.”

Due to most forms of entertainment and recreation having been closed in an effort to help stop the spread of COVID-19, most people have decided to try and take up golf as it’s one of the few things someone can do outside of their house.

Mike Donovan, an employee and the main golf instructor at the course, has been getting an influx of people wanting lessons as they see the sport as something they truly want to take up and learn.

“When we first opened, oh my God, my phone wouldn’t stop buzzing with texts and phone calls from people wanting lessons,” Donovan said.

Donovan said his schedule was hectic, as there are many individuals wanted to have lessons about golf.

“I’d have lessons from just about 7 a.m., almost all the way till 7 p.m., of course I sometimes had breaks in between, but it was crazy. Even now in November I’m still slammed on lessons, business has been good for me and the course but it still has been a lot, I’ve been here for justabout 35 years and have never seen it, this nuts,” Donovan said.

But with the high requests of use, it has become difficult for customers to make reservations and appointments with the golf course. 

“It’s almost impossible to get a Tee-Time around here too, the phones open up at 6 a.m. for reservations and even if you call then you won’t be able to get anything until at least 8 a.m. the next week, and we open the gate at 5:30am,” Donovan said.

Paul Arceri, who has worked at the course for almost 4 years, said there has been some difficulty when working at the golf course with this influx of people. 

“I don’t really run into that many problems with the rules, the masks can be a problem for those stubborn people, because people have to be socially distant, we limit people per golf carts and we tent to run out faster, and the new crowd just results in a lot of weirdos that never really came out here before,” Arceri said. “ Just the other day I had a guy who tried to weasel his way into getting a Tee-Time when I had none, and treated me like I was the jerk for not letting him go out and play.”

Elisa Albarran expresses her feelings for COVID-19 through her eyes on Nov. 10 while staying social distancing at her backyard in Gardena. Daniela Ybarra/ Special to The Union

Nov. 10| Gardena and Santa Ana

By: Daniela Ybarra

The Coronavirus Pandemic began to impact our lifestyles in March 2020, leaving us to adapt to the changes that were made. For two individuals in southern California, each of them are living different lives compared to one another, but one thing that both have learned is to keep family close during times like this. 

Kurt Williams, a 25-year-old Debt Negotiator, has been working for six months at a local Law Firm in Santa Ana. Meanwhile, in Gardena, a 21-year-old El Camino College student Elisa Albarran is stuck at her home, unemployed.

Before the pandemic, Willams worked to make ends meet. The economy was good, he worked full time and only worried about him and his family’s lifestyle. 

“I felt secured, more free, life was good,” said Williams.

When Williams was not working he was either at family gatherings or with friends at a local bar, restaurant, or attending concerts. 

However, Williams had to adjust his lifestyle due to COVID.

Williams no longer needs to leave his home for work, allowing him to sleep longer and also not having to worry about leaving his cat Boots home alone.

During the month of April, Williams received a call to go back to the Law Firm, but employees were required to check their body temperature, wear face coverings, and sanitize their hands. Unfortunately, one of his co-workers had caught the virus within a week and everyone was sent back home.

Although Williams has been working and spending most of time in his living room, he has found shooting to be a new hobby as he drives out twice a month to Azusa, CA. in order to spend time at the shooting range. 

One thing Williams is looking forward to is the Presidential Election. He usually enjoys turning in his voting ballot in person at the Polling Center, however he encourages voters to be safe and send your ballots through the mail instead of risking your health by waiting in line.

“I’m not in their shoes, so I can’t imagine their same fear, but Dr. Anthony Fauci, American Physician, one of the leading experts will be voting in person….and that’s what I would like to, do if I can,” Williams said.

Williams looks forward to returning back to his job and spending time with family and friends again. 

But for student Elisa Albarran’s life before the pandemic, she had a set schedule. She would attend her classes early in the morning at 6 a.m. and finish before noon. For work, she commuted to Magruder Middle School located in Torrance, for an after school program called Torrance After School Club.

Albarran enjoyed her job because she had the opportunity to work with children. Due to her hard work throughout the week, she was able to enjoy time with family and friends on the weekends.

She had favorite things to do on her days off such as eating out, watching a movie, and even going to Disneyland, but once the pandemic hit and the lockdown was enforced, most of her enjoyable activities have been on hold.

“Every single aspect of my life has changed,” Albarran said.

Sadly, she became unemployed because the schools had shut down due to COVID-19.

With no income to help pay for her schooling, her parents stepped in to support her. Luckily she was able to enroll as a Senior this Fall semester. 

Unlike her previous college experiences, her schedule will be altered, now being, she is now forced to utilize her laptop to access her online course instead of attending courses in person.

“I miss going to school, I miss having my routine, I miss having stuff to wake up to, you know…look forward to doing every single day,” Albarran said.

Adapting to her new lifestyle has been a struggle for her, as it has affected how she feels about herself in certain ways.

 “It’s just been hard to find a way to keep yourself distracted and happy, while also being safe and trying to stay social distance and safe at home as much as possible,” Albarran said.

During this time of struggle, she learned how to maintain a steady schedule that allows her to stay focus on her studies, along with having a positive mindset.

Some relatives, that live with Albarran, obtained a deficient immune system. In order to keep them safe and healthy, she sacrifices her free time by staying home with them. 

She has found hobbies that keep her busy, such cooking and doing nails. She also spends time with her dog Coco asa way to keep her mind clear, and staying positive throughout the day.

 Albarran hopes that in the future there will be fewer restrictions while enjoying her usual activities. Also, she would like others to be more aware of their own health along with being considerate of others. 

If or when the Coronavirus passes, she may be able to enroll in classes through the University of Cal State Dominguez Hills and gain her motivation back to achieve her dream.

Williams and Albarran both learned from their experience. One major lesson is to keep your family close.

“Now all of a sudden we are locked in, and your like, ‘aww I want to see my family now’,” Williams said.

COVID -19 might also get people to realize how much freedom they had.  

“We were very privileged before this pandemic in many ways,” Albarran added.

Touche Salon and BarreWorks Studio, Redondo Beach

By: Renee Zoota-Lucero

While so many other businesses are closing their doors, two local business owners have managed to keep their businesses afloat through the pandemic. 

Although the two business owners have stayed afloat during the pandemic, each owner has conflicting views on COVID-19 and the precautions in place.

A normal work week at Touche Salon was roughly four working days, Christine Maniaci, 49, stylist, and owner of Touche Salon for 19 years said.

Maniaci said, “I don’t think people think they can have fun anymore.”

The overall atmosphere of the salon has changed since the start of quarantine.

Maniaci said that in the past the “air was just a little lighter.”

Clients no longer feel comfortable enough to do much more than have their hair done and leave, not even partaking in actions that were done before the pandemic.

“Come and have a drink with us,” Maniaci said, “Want me to make you a coffee?”

Maniaci is “over” the regulations recently put in place to combat the pandemic.

In order to stay afloat at the beginning of quarantine when almost everything was shut down, Maniaci relied on the understanding and generosity of her landlords and on her innovative creation of color kits.

When the salon was completely closed, they would only sell the color kits, which consisted of hair-dye and an at-home guide to mixing the color and then dying their own hair.

“We would put our color kits in like lunch bags with our client’s name on it,” Maniaci said.

There would be one or two days a week where they would line them up in front of the store and tell the customers to pick up the one with their name on it.

“I was just fortunate that I’m where I’m at and I rent from who I rent from,” Maniaci said.

When Maniaci had to close the salon for a few weeks starting in March, her landlords made it clear that they would work with her on the rent during these difficult times and that they would “cross each week when we get there,” she said.

In regards to her personal life, Maniaci said that quarantine hasn’t really changed anything for her.

“I’m pretty outgoing so I’m, and I’m not fearful so, you know, if a group of friends want to go out and have drinks, I’ll go out and have drinks,” Maniaci said. “I hate wearing a mask and I don’t want to wear one and if I don’t have to wear one, I won’t. I think they’re dumb.”

Diane Numark, 46 year-old, was a client at BarreWorks Studio in Redondo Beach for three years for exercise classes with a basis in ballet before becoming one of the instructors there. 

She then spent another three years as an instructor before buying the business from its original owner just over a year ago.

“I loved [being a stay-at-home mom],” Numark said. “When [my kids] went to school, when they started school, I needed to do something for myself and I loved this exercise so much that they recruited me to teach.”

Unfortunately, Numark owned the studio for roughly six months before quarantine went into effect, the studio got shut down, and became virtual. With some creative marketing games, the switch to virtual classes was so successful that their online class attendance actually went up in April.

“People were really happy to have something to do while they’re stuck at home,” Numark said.

The studio opened back up in-person for three weeks in June and July before it got shut down again.

Numark said that although that was really disappointing ,“we again had to pivot and figure out how to change it up enough because there were people that didn’t want to do zoom, who were sick of being in the box.”

Numark said that in August, the patio just outside the studio became host to some small, in-person, distanced classes that ten people could attend per class, and since one class was taught per day, there was time to thoroughly clean the area.

“I think for me it was very instinctual of, I’m in the business to help people get healthy so if I make them sick when they’re coming to, you know, workout or to be healthy, just how wrong that would be,” Numark said.

Numark also said that both her and her kids miss their friends and normal life in general.

“I long for the days of future where we will get to be normal again,” Numark said.

Editor’s note: A part of this article was removed on Dec. 28 because of a misunderstanding in source awareness. 

Correction: The first paragraph was modified for clarity on Dec. 28.