This article is part of a series called “COVID Survivor Stories,” where we profile the struggles of those who survived a diagnosis of COVID-19, as they deal with the repercussions of recovery.
When Jenifer Flynn, co-owner of the Barking Goose Bookstore, Bar and Cafe in Newburgh, tested positive for COVID-19 alongside her wife and co-owner Lani back in December, she wasn’t sure what the future would look like for her restaurant.
“One of the first things we thought of is the business,” she said. “We knew we would have to immediately shut down.”
At one point, they thought they would have to close for good, as shutting down for two weeks added more economic distress to a business that was struggling like many small businesses during the pandemic.
“We were just overwhelmed,” she said. “That makes it difficult when you’re kind of going week by week and month by month as a business operating, which is not ideal.”
The business was able to stay afloat in part because of support from friends and their loyal customers, whom they had informed about the diagnosis in the first place.
“We knew immediately once we got the test result we would would share with customers,” she said. “We knew that our customers trusted us, and we wanted them to. So we disclosed just so we could make sure that everybody was safe, because we definitely didn’t want to have people going out there who could have been exposed.”
It was because of this trust in customers that a GoFundMe page was created to raise money for the restaurant. They collected a total of $6,840, which surpassed the goal of $5,000.
Initially, Flynn and her wife were unsure if they wanted to accept the help, but they relented and could not be more thankful for the support.
“Normally, that would be a hard thing for us to accept,” she said. “I asked Lani, and she said she just didn’t want to give up on the business. So then I said, ‘Okay, if that’s what people want to do, then I’m grateful to them.'”
Eventually, the couple was able to get vaccinated once restaurant workers were eligible. Both received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
“If you’ve had COVID, [the vaccine] kind of mimics the symptoms,” she said. “It’s more of a relief to know, even while you get the chills and aches and fever, you know it can be over soon.”