Coronavirus a year later: Bridget Walker, ‘It was difficult. It’s still difficult’

A year ago today marked the moment that COVID-19 went from a emerging threat on a somewhat distant horizon to a grim reality that would kill more than 500,000 Americans in its first year and alter the lives of millions.

The Dayton Daily News checked in with 12 area business and community leaders and let them tell us what they learned about their lives, businesses and policy making during the pandemic.

Bridget Walker of Sweets Boutique Bakery

Bridget Walker, who owns Sweets Boutique Bakery in downtown Xenia, never thought the coronavirus would come to her hometown.

“I didn’t think it would spread throughout the whole world,” Walker said.

Walker’s brother, who is an airline pilot, was the first person she knew to come down with the coronavirus. He got sick right around this time last year. Walker’s youngest daughter was also sent home from the University of Cincinnati last spring semester to do her classes online.

“I was so happy when she came home because I was so afraid,” Walker said. “She was calling home and saying someone in another dorm got it and another person got it… I was just thinking, ‘oh my goodness.’”

Business at the bakery got very slow and Walker had to cut down on the bakery’s hours and staff. Sweets has put their wedding and catering business on hold.

“We do a lot of big wedding cakes, graduation cakes, birthday parties… all those things that people get together and celebrate, but those things weren’t happening anymore,” Walker said. “It was difficult. It’s still difficult. Business still isn’t back to normal, but we are gradually building it back up and I’m hopeful things will get better and cases will start to go down soon.”

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