‘My whole world went away’: 2020 through the eyes of Alabamians - al.com

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When Alabama was locked in March, reporters

Engage with people across the state to track their experiences at this historic moment.

Their stories involve things for granted, high-end prom and live music, church services and haircuts. Some people work hard to keep the business alive. Some people strive to maintain family health. There are some


When they look back at the end of the Alabama pandemic, here are eight stories:

More than eight months after he defeated COVID-19, Jolanda Barnes could only shake his head at people who were seen in the grocery store without masks or wearing necks.

"I thought,'Oh my god, you might not even understand the role of this virus," said Barnes, who was diagnosed with COVID-19 in late March. "And it is impossible to own it, or you may not have experienced anything related to the virus, otherwise you would be happy to wear a mask."

Her own experience with COVID is painful. Barnes, who lives in Valley Township, Chambers County, Georgia, near the interstate line of Georgia, was diagnosed with COVID-19 in late March and stayed at La Grange Hospital for 5 days. After that, he took oxygen at home for about a week.

She can post short content before Easter Sunday, April 12

A temporary sunrise church service was held in her home, but she still recovered in the following weeks. She said it took at least a month after she was discharged from the hospital to return to normal.

#Grateful for the little things

Barnes is an accountant and can still work from home, and said that she follows the recommendations of the US Centers for Disease Control and other agencies very carefully to avoid re-infection, or more importantly Spread the virus to other people. She tried to restrict travel to the grocery store and wore a mask when she left.

She said: "On the one hand, I can count the number of times since I actually entered Wal-Mart."

She actually attended church meetings, which was a huge sacrifice for her, and was still a volunteer in the church office during the week. However, even if she resumed her worship in the congregation of the Rehoboth Baptist Church in the valley, she chose to watch it online.

"The church is definitely an important part of my life," Barnes said. "Just in the sanctuary in the closed area, I have not personally been to the worship activities."

Now, being in a closed space near others makes her feel anxious that she did not have before the pandemic. She knows that she has been infected with this virus, so she has some antibodies and is expected to protect herself from re-infection, but she does not want to risk it.

"I have antibodies, and I have donated plasma and everything, so I am fully aware that I have antibodies in my body, but this is an unknown world," Barnes said. "You don't know how long the antibody can last."

Barnes said she didn't want it

immediately. She is worried that there are too many unknowns.

She said: "At the moment, I think I want to give it some time to discover any kind of side effects, or not." "I think I, because I know I have antibodies in my body, so I don't really need a vaccine now. "

Barnes said that other members of her family, including her mother, are also hesitant to get the vaccine.

"She is cautious about this now," Barnes said, "but, you know, we are confident about it, just keep trying to stay safe and stay as safe as we can when we walk around her."

Barnes is not the only person in her family with the disease. She said that since she recovered, two of her three brothers have tested positive and one of them has severe symptoms. The two nephews also tested positive but asymptomatic.

Barnes said she will not change the major events that affect her in 2020. She said that the story of recovery gave others hope.

She said: "This is still an unknown world, but now it is 9 months away from us." "I experienced it, I can go back and say I experienced it. I survived the Bible, hopefully I will not come into contact with it again."

For Fairhope singer-songwriter Grayson Capps, the busy live performance schedule was the main source of income before the pandemic.

"On March 14, my entire world disappeared," Capps said. "I remember it was a barrage of justice, everything was cancelled."

Capps is famous for the tenacity represented by its funny characters, and the cultural lyrics. After some experiments, he found a sweet spot on Facebook,

In fact, it became his modern behavior when he was doing business in his early years.

It also allows new communities to emerge.

Spontaneous kennel style on Saturday night. Guitar case: PayPal.me/GraysonCapps or Venmo: @ Grayson-Capps-1

Before the pandemic, a new group of fans who didn't know him or each other joined his audience. Soon, they established a company called

As the name suggests, it is dedicated to improving content and overall motivation.

"This is incredible," he said. "For many people who find new friends, this is the lifeline. I am the contact person, but then all these friendships have developed."

His most recent performance with Molly Thomas had about 3,000 spectators and 900 comments. He said: "When I play, this is a damn peanut gallery." "It's more like a party."

Capps said: "In most cases, I don't think this is a year of getting lost." "I think this is a year of exams. When the year starts, it's like "This will be a great year, We will get a 20/20 vision. "I think people have many ways. I think about people differently. People who are beautiful become more beautiful. Some people are ugly and become uglier. During this period, people's true colors do appear. For me and almost For everyone, there is a revelation... and an understanding that has never been seen before."

He said: "This is definitely my growth experience." "It took me 25 to 30 years to think, I will break through and become a new star, and my spacecraft will sail into the sea and become famous. Pursue that. People can say that I succeeded, but I did not succeed. I am still a hungry musician and never really achieved any success. I have been doing crazy things, trying to open a door over and over again, expecting the difference again and again The result of this. This year made me re-evaluate myself and feel satisfied with myself, come home and admit what I have."

Having said that, he does hope to perform again in the most popular venues in Lower Alabama, such as the Irish Social Club in Callaghan and The Pirate Bay. "I miss those days," he said.

At the beginning of 2020, beautician and stylist Mary Reinhardt (Mary Reinhardt) committed to establishing her own hair color authority in her hometown of Decatur. She started a new job in the salon.

. Then the coronavirus happened and Reinhardt spent her days at her home in Huntsville.

More than two weeks after Reinhardt took office as Governor Kay Ivey on April 15th, he said: "I don’t miss closing the case.

. "Not everyone is safe."

Reinhardt sees friends and clients on social media considering whether to cut or dye their hair. One day, despite the closure of the salon and barbershop, a policeman who still needed to comply with uniform standards walked to Reinhardt's gas station and asked if she wanted to make a house call.

Reinhardt wanted to help, but it was not worth the risk. She still earns income from teaching at Huntsville Salon Professional College. But she knew that other beauticians would call because they had to pay the bill.

On April 17, when a group of national leaders suggested that the salon reopen, Reinhardt wanted to know:

At that time, the governor did not reopen the salon, but many stylists in the state set their sights on April 30, the day when the lock-in order was about to expire.

When the governor announced on April 29 that the retail store would reopen during the salon’s closure, Reinhardt was frustrated.

She said: "This plan seems to be the best for the economy, not the best for the public." "You want to do what is most beneficial to the public. But if the person in charge says to go to a shopping mall or Target (Target ) Is safe, but I don’t want to have a haircut. That seems wrong to me."


, Reinhardt is confident in hygiene and distancing measures (such as masks). She gave people what they have been waiting for-blue fish, pink fish, mermaid hair.

She said: "That's why we do this job." "Make people feel better."

At first the business was very busy, but as time passed, the business gradually returned to normal. The COVID agreement and social distancing have also become normal. Reinhardt said in September: "I don't think my life has changed drastically...or maybe I'm used to the way I am now."

2020 is approaching and the vaccine will be launched in December. Reinhardt said she is optimistic about the new year.

She said: "I expect a sense of security and security."

Reminders of the pandemic can be found in deserted parking lots.

In Mobile, it is usually Friday and Saturday on the Shabbat, the lively center of the small Jewish community in the city.

"Since the time of Abraham, the community has been at the core of Jewish life for thousands of years," Rabbi Steve Silberman said in an interview

In April. "This has always been the core of our identity. So when we stop praying, as a public experience, it can be debilitating. When I can't go to the hospital or my family's home, it is simply frustrating."

"Being part of the community and group, like breathing, is part of my tradition."

However, the pandemic forced the synagogue in March

The door to regular gatherings. Rabbi Silberman, 59, has been living in Mobile since 1990

In April, he had attended two funerals and people were forced to attend social gatherings. But since then, as a father of a family of four, he has also faced personal challenges. His wife has a mild COVID-19 illness, and the University of Alabama student has a daughter.

"I tell you, because it's scary for my family," he explained this month.

Although Rabbi Silberman is known as Rabbi Steve in his congregation, he said that there are some unexpected positives this year-he and his small team have already Technology is used. His congregation can now follow the weekend Sabbath service on YouTube, and Zoom is where people meet on Saturday night. The Zoom meeting on Monday afternoon is used to learn proverbs, and the children’s story time is held at 5:30 pm. The online group on Tuesday focuses on spirituality.

He said: "If we reopen, I plan to maintain video conferencing and other technical methods to maintain greater contact with the people in the synagogue, because for whatever reason, the people in the synagogue will not be able to enter the stadium because they are absent or sick. ."

There are also rare face-to-face gatherings. Every second Sunday morning, his congregation meets under the front porch of the synagogue, catches up and "eats doughnuts", of course, wearing masks socially. He added: "They are used to bringing their own lawn chairs."

As for the future, Rabbi Silberman said that it is too early to speculate on this vaccine, although he admits that he hopes that his congregation will start the normal schedule again in the near future.

He said: "When everything is over, we really want to have a party." "I don't know when and where it might happen. Maybe in people's homes or in various families, or in synagogues. We will Celebrate together again, this is a community that all of us have missed."

"Hey, we can even drink a little alcohol."

For many Alabamas, dealing with the uncertainty maze may be new, but for Caren Tinajero it is not. She is accustomed to vaguely treating the "Delayed Action on Arrival Children" program (often called DACA).

The Obama-era plan protects immigrants brought into the country as children. Tinajero was 6 years old when her family moved from Mexico City to Jefferson County. After receiving DACA approval at the age of 16, she entered the nursing school of the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

She became the first generation of college graduates and had aspired to be a nurse since she was a child, but this pandemic forced UAB to make a virtual graduation. The decision made her cry because she was waiting for the US Supreme Court to decide the fate of DACA under the pressure of 2020.

She said to herself: "I still want to be a nurse and I can still help people who are going through a lot of things." "I don't want to just help my people. I want to help this country because for me, it's My country. This is what I know."

Tinajero accepted a nurse position at St. Vincent's Hospital and was trained when he received good news in June: The Supreme Court rejected Trump's 2017 attempt to terminate the DACA program. according to

, An estimated 1,100 DACA recipients in Alabama are working in education, healthcare, and food related jobs.

But about a month after the ruling, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security blocked the new applicant. Then, a federal judge ordered the Department of Homeland Security to begin accepting new applicants. but

In the fall, the busy work schedule prevented Tinajero from being distracted from election news most of the time. But she knew the danger. Trump continued to promote strict immigration police, while then Democratic candidate Joe Biden promised to restore DACA.

Tinajero cannot vote because she is not yet a citizen, even though she wants to become a citizen and is married to an American citizen. Instead, she began to share her story. Tinajero once kept silent about herself as an immigrant, but encouraged her to tell her truth over the past four years.

She said: "Maybe I will help change a person's mind, which may have a positive impact on everyone in our country and through their vote."

Although Tinajero did not directly deal with COVID-19 cases at first, in October, she became one of more than 15,000 infected medical staff. She got off work after the fever, and when she became positive, she had lost her taste.

She was isolated from her husband and isolated at home, who tested positive after she was born. Even if she was healthy again, she still hesitated to start working again. She is worried about making colleagues or elderly patients sick. Tinajero waited until the hospital gave her all passes before returning.

Tinajero said that with the increase in the number of cases in Alabama after the holiday, the hospital is making more room for stable COVID-19 patients. She said that due to staff shortages, her colleagues have been providing assistance in turns. Tinajero spent a lot of time caring for COVID patients, and she did not expect it as a new nurse. However, after an experienced nurse showed her where to find suitable personal protective equipment and medicines, Tinagello said she would be happy to help.

She said that in the face of the pandemic and DACA is still pending, her beliefs and family have maintained their roots. She has not won any university scholarships. Therefore, she began to talk about how her mother was late after cleaning the surplus house, or how her father asked the boss for a raise.

In order to pay tribute to them, she decorated her graduation cap with the photo she took with her parents on the first day of the nursing school, the monarch butterfly, and wrote a sentence in Spanish: "When I see me flying, please remember, You gave me wings."

She said: "Even if I try to repay them, I cannot afford all the work and sacrifices they have done for me." "I may not know why all of this happened, but I do know that God has a plan, even if I do not know why."

For Sam Bowman, the coronavirus pandemic has deceived him, and thousands of him, are like memories of high school.

Bowman turned 18 in May, and he was shocked by the 2020 loss: he missed a baseball season, he had high hopes for success, canceled the school prom, and graduated in a hurry, without hugging and shaking hands.

His senior baseball season will be the culmination of his career starting in the eighth grade. In his sophomore and junior year, he started at third base. He was recognized by the county and won an honorary award from the district team. When the season suddenly ended, he was turning to shortstop in high school.

Bowman said: "They told us that they thought we could play in the county and I thought,'At least I can play those teams and get into the playoffs." "Then they cancelled the whole thing. It's really impressive. Disappointed."

But the most painful loss has nothing to do with the pandemic. On July 30, Bowman’s close friend,

In a car accident. DeFilippi and Bowman work together, go to the beach together, "hanging out at my house, swimming, and many different things."

"It's very difficult," Bowman said. "I have known him all my life. My brother and I have always been good friends. (Dalton) did his best. He is a good boy."

Bowman was a freshman at Mobile University when he enrolled in the fall, which was a challenge. He moved into the dormitory in August and had to adapt to face-to-face and remote teaching. He said that his performance was somewhat frustrated in a strange environment.

Then, he got COVID-19 in late October.

"The worst part is fatigue," Bowman said. "Even after 10 days of isolation, I must resume (baseball) practice immediately. The fatigue is still there. It hasn't disappeared for two to three weeks. So the worst part may be to start practicing again and still feel like I have it, But it’s not contagious. I was practising, going to classes and things, but I was very tired."

But Bowman has high hopes for the new year. He switched from business to kinesiology and looked forward to the baseball season.

He said: "I think I must have grown up in the past year, but in terms of smell, I performed better for this."

As a teenager, LeAndra Poux was a big fan of zombie movies. Once she thought she would

Experience the zombie apocalypse in real life.

But now, as adults and restaurant owners are dealing with the pandemic that continues to plague the industry, Poux recalled the zombie curiosity of teenagers and smiled and said, "I take it back!"

After 2020, it is amazing how anyone in the restaurant industry maintains a sense of humor.

But this is the resilience of Poux and his husband Thomas Poux who owns and operates

Fire & Spice is a joint venture in Huntsville, consisting of a physical restaurant and a food truck, and is constantly adapting to this year's structural changes. They increased delivery. Adjust the menu to include family-sized meals. LeAndra says that online ordering can facilitate easier ordering when many customers are unwilling to dine. "To be honest, if you don't order online, I don't know how you did it."

Pouxs studied restaurant trends in larger markets even before the pandemic. Fire & Spice added roadside pickups early on. During the pandemic, when Alabama restaurants closed, in addition to tacos and beef, Fire & Spice also sold bleach, toilet paper and other "pantry". When things returned to normal, they reconfigured their dining room to accommodate half the capacity and social distance. In order to reduce contact, they switched from sitting down and eating to fast casual service. They also pay more attention to food. LeAndra said: "We try our best to do this." "We are living, but we are not thriving."

The new roadside picked up the sign and appeared. Order online, we have the rest #texmexbbq #dinehsv #firespice #curbsidepickup

As a catering business, everything goes smoothly for Pouxs. They were originally employees of Fire & Spice Food Trucks. Eventually they bought a truck and then saved up to open a restaurant. When the pandemic occurred, Pouxs shelved plans to buy a new house and made other sacrifices to avoid layoffs of nine people. LeAndra said: "These are not just employees, they are also members of our family."

After the host refused to require attendees to wear masks, Fire & Spice rejected a profitable wedding catering performance. They also experienced

. "I am very grateful to our regular customers for their perseverance," LeAndra said. "It sounds like a cliché, but we wouldn't be here without them. In most cases, everyone who comes here is caring and caring."

With the cancellation of the event, the sales of the Fire & Spice dining car dropped by about 70%. Now about 80% of restaurant turnover is going away, but Fire & Spice still has to pay rent for their mostly empty restaurants. The bear family has a 6-year-old son, so this year they must also be teachers and conduct distance learning. Because LeAndra and Thomas work 80 hours a week, the whole family can feel at ease through video games and Netflix during vacation. They recently took the time to drive through 13 states, visit national parks, and get fresh air literally and visually.

LeAndra hopes that one day, she and Thomas can look back on 2020 and laugh. She said: "I pray to God, it will become very difficult." "Because if it is not like this, it will become scary."

With chalky white walls and gray floors, the retail space of a shopping mall near Birmingham city centre looks like a dreamy bare bones.

It was supposed to be the health center owned by Lemar Storey, which borrowed $30,000 to expand before the pandemic stopped the world. In 16 years, he has developed his business Lifetouch Massage from a mobile business to a physical space.

But COVID-19 has turned restorative exercises such as yoga into high-risk events. Therefore, after spending thousands of dollars to expand, he decided to hand over the key in August. "To see what comes out of the brain becomes a physical form, and then go back, like'that is my space,'" Storey said. "But, you know, I won't be sad."

A study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Due to the flu pandemic, they had a bumper harvest between February and April. But Lifetouch is not one.

Storey can make up for the losses caused by the expansion that was abandoned by the federal government's salary protection plan and the Birmingham Strong Fund. After hiring a grant writer, he also received a $10,000 grant from Beyoncé’s BeyGOOD Black-owned Small Business Fund.

But by 2020, nothing will be easy. Two days before the Jefferson County Health Department, Story voluntarily closed the business on March 17

. Soon after, Governor Kay Ivey issued similar orders to all areas of Alabama. When the state relaxed restrictions, Lifetouch was closed until early June.

Stoye said: "Our spirit is harmless." "So if we take certain measures to harm our customers, then I think it is unethical."

Due to corona virus #bhamstrong, Life Touch Massage will be closed today

When "touch" is actually your company's name, it is difficult to hide from infectious viruses, but Storey does its best by improving hygiene measures. The blanket that used to fill the massage table is replaced by a bed cover, which is replaced after each treatment session. Wipe the table with special disinfectant wipes. He hired a professional cleaning company to disinfect the entire business.

However, COVID-19 is not the only thing Storey thought of. When he was about to open the door again in June, after the Minnesota State Police killed George Floyd, protests broke out across the country. In Alabama, police killings once again ignited demands for the removal of Confederate monuments.

In Birmingham, protests led to the demolition of a monument in the city centre. Although protest organizers called for peace, some businesses were destroyed during the turbulent night. The Birmingham community quickly gathered, cleaned the broken glass and replaced the broken windows.

Storey's business didn't move, but he didn't know if he would be angry if he found the window was broken. He can still recall his racial profile when he was 12 years old. He said that a police officer mistakenly thought he was the suspect and pointed a gun at him. He said that during his indoor massage in Mount Brook, a predominantly white suburb, the police were called three times, which prompted him to stop the indoor massage and start looking for his own space.

Therefore, when the window broke, Storey said he had insurance to replace something similar.

"For the entire system, that's why I said I won't go crazy," Storey said. "If I go to work and find that the window is broken or something is happening, I certainly feel a certain feeling because it disturbs the business, but at the same time, I also understand the demonstrators. Some changes are definitely needed."

Storey said that by the end of 2020, as COVID cases surge again, he wants to hire more massage therapists, but these programs seem to have to wait until he knows whether they will be closed again.

"We are not out of the predicament," Storey said in November. "I have to spend this money wisely. Therefore, we keep a lot because we really just want to end this nightmare so that we can do what we need to do."

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