CORPUS CHRISTI — A place of beauty and relaxation, salons like Q Nails in Portland thrive in making people feel good about themselves, even safe.
But in 2020, that sense of peace was taken away. The first case of COVID-19 reached the U.S. on Jan. 20, 2020 and week later, the whole country was shut down.
We (were) worr(ied)," Ho, the owner of Q Nails said. "(It was) scary.
It was scary for the world as people learned more about a deadly virus was spreading quickly.
“My mom (is) diabetic so it affects her more," Q Nails employee Serena Garcia said. "So me working at a nail salon she would always say ‘Wear a mask, wash your hands.”
"Now I always wash my hands,” she said. “I carry hand sanitizer in my bag 24/7.”
Many local businesses had to learn to survive economically during the shutdowns that came with the pandemic. Q Nails, which closed for five weeks at the beginning of the pandemic, was one among the many. .
But he knew he needed to do something for the community. He got the idea after seeing that first responders were still out there risking their lives to save others.
“We bought 6,000 bottles of hand sanitizer for community and first responders,” Ho said. “We used the nail stations and we (were) making masks.”
They also gave out masks for free.
Though Ho eventually reopened, he said he lost a lot of employees and the salon is still in recovery.
"Everybody, everyone, every business like really behind right now,” he said. "We are still shorthanded now."
Businesses aside, people still mourn time not spent with the ones they love, especially for tight-knit families like the Davila's.
“We would have get togethers and parties and everyone would go to my moms,” Aransas Pass police sergeant Tony Davila said.
It was hard to adjust to keeping a distance for everyone's safety, but Davila learned that there is love in keeping a distance as much as there was in being close.
"Even though it was really tough we could still help each other,” he said.