Impacts from the threat of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is touching life on virtually every level. The closing of school campuses disrupted family schedules and student learning.
The shuttering of businesses has left people out of work.
The number of people testing positive for COVID-19 and people dying from the virus continues to rise.
Nobody knows yet, when we will emerge to the other side, and when we do, what the lasting impacts will be.
For now, here’s a small sampling of how people are coping with the impacts of COVID-19.
Holding on, in a tough time
Normally, TJ’s Deli & Ice Cream does steady lunch business between 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.
“Now, we’ll be happy if we get a customer every two hours,” said Rosa Benitez, who owns the restaurant, along with her husband.
“We have lost a lot of business,” Benitez said. “It’s definitely overwhelming. It’s something you didn’t expect,” said the woman, who also works two part-time jobs.
“It’s been really life-changing. If you don’t have a second job or a second income, this could definitely put you out of business. It’s very sad,” she said.
Normally, the restaurant has four employees. Now, it’s just Benitez and her husband, Michael Holman.
They’re worried about how long the pandemic will last and wonder when business will return.
Meanwhile, Holman asks: “When are the (government stimulus) checks going to be handed out? When is the relief coming?”
Despite uncertainties, she trusts the universe
Sixty-nine-year-old Sheila Prater, of Land O’ Lakes, is dealing with uncertainties on all sides.
She’s a caregiver for an 88-year-old woman who has Alzheimer’s disease.
She said the COVID-19 pandemic is adding to stress she’s already been feeling.
The house she’s been renting for years is up for sale and, when it sells, she’ll have to move.
Her daughter just lost her job as a server because of the impacts of COVID-19, and Prater isn’t sure where they’re going to live because it’s hard to find a place that will allow her three cats and one dog.
Prater also is unsure if she’ll be able to buy a house, given her daughter’s unemployment and today’s trying times.
Still, she is doing her best to remain positive.
“There are no accidents. Everything happens for a reason and everything happens on time. Not always our time, but the right time. Whatever the universe’s will, if it’s meant to be, it will be,” Prater said.
Being careful — and enjoying ice cream
Ken Graham and Kathy Patrick recently dropped by TJ’s Deli & Ice Cream, at 37752 Meridian Ave., in Dade City to get themselves a treat.
Patrick said she’s glad some businesses are closing.
But, she added: “A part of me also thinks it’s too hyped up. People are too afraid to go out. You can’t stop living your life. You can’t just let it defeat you.
“There’s some people that are just scared to death to go anywhere.”
Graham said concerns about COVID-19 have created a “very weird feeling — unexpected.”
The couple is still going out, but is being careful.
“We’re staying away from people,” Graham said. “We just had to have a meeting with a lawyer friend. We did it outside, in a patio setting, with distance between us,” he said.
“I think our medical community is doing a fantastic job. I think people, in general, are accepting their part. Everywhere we go, we see everyone practicing measures of safety,” Graham added.
So, when the couple had a chance to get some ice cream, they went for it.
They got their ice cream in waffle cones.
“Always, a waffle cone,” said Graham, who’s been going to TJ’s for years.
Patrick got a Happy Tracks cone.
Graham got a Black Cherry. That’s his new favorite.
Compiled by B.C. Manion and Christine Holtzman
Published April 1, 2020