Josh Phelps | St. Louis Public Radio

Josh Phelps

Joshua Phelps

Bike retailers around the St. Louis region have reduced capacity for in-person visits due to the COVID-19 crisis. But even with less foot traffic, some shops are seeing an uptick in sales. 

According to Big Shark Bicycle Company owner Mike Weiss, the Richmond Heights location has gone from an average of 60 sales per week to nearly 140 a week since about mid-March. 

Eric Strand on the trail
Eric Strand

Longtime St. Louisan Eric Strand has worked in the hospitality industry for nearly 40 years, doing many different jobs before becoming the chief operating officer for Drury Hotels. And when the COVID-19 crisis left many frontline hospitality workers in the lurch, Strand wanted to do something to help them out.

Niles Zee

Transgender individuals have it hard in St. Louis. Some don’t have access to cars, and some are homeless. Now many have also lost access to one of the only support groups where they feel welcome.

According to Sayer Johnson, co-founder and executive director of local nonprofit Metro Trans Umbrella Group, or MTUG, hardship is nothing new for the community. But with the COVID-19 outbreak, Johnson explained during Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, life has gotten much worse.

Tents at the encampment off Market Street, where about 50 unhoused individuals have lived for weeks. 5/1/20
File photo | Lindsay Toler | St. Louis Public Radio

Residents of what had been St. Louis’ largest homeless encampment, located just off Market Street in downtown St. Louis, are now on the move.

St. Louis Health Director Fredrick Echols ordered the camp to be cleared on April 29, saying it poses a public health risk of spreading the coronavirus.

The camp’s 50 or so residents had resisted moving to shelters during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, despite a push from the city. Campers cited concerns ranging from fear of greater exposure to COVID-19 to being unable to bring their possessions to city-run shelters. But after the city ordered residents to vacate the encampment last week — and a federal judge ruled against a temporary restraining order meant to halt the city’s effort — they now have little choice but to find somewhere else to stay.

Charles and the full moon on February 8, 2020.
Mark Glenshaw

In early March, Mark Glenshaw joined host Sarah Fenske on St. Louis on the Air to discuss his obsession with owls. On Monday’s show, Glenshaw returned to give an update on his favorite great horned owl, Charles. 

During the conversation, he detailed Charles’ relationship with another owl, Danielle. 

Nicole DeVore is an interpreter for Paraquad's Deaf Way Interpreting Services. | 4/21/20
Nicole DeVore

American Sign Language interpreters have become a ubiquitous presence at public health briefings. Usually standing a few steps in front or behind and at least six feet to the side of elected officials and health professionals, interpreters continue to provide an essential service to deaf and hard of hearing people.

What’s it like to interpret during a pandemic? Aside from signing the letters, how does ASL evolve to include signs for “coronavirus” and “COVID-19”?

Medical workers at Mercy Health's drive-through novel coronavirus test collection site are gathering samples from patients daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (March 16, 2020)
File Photo| Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Dr. Alex Garza is leading a collaboration of the St. Louis region’s four major health systems: SSM Health, Mercy, BJC HealthCare and St. Luke’s Hospital.

The region is beginning to “bend the curve” thanks to social distancing measures and stay-at-home orders, Garza said earlier this week. 

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, Garza talked to host Sarah Fenske and discussed how the current restrictions in place are helping to lessen the strain on St. Louis’ health care system and reduce the number of hospitalizations in the area.

Julie O'Donoghue

While most people have retreated to their homes to shelter in place during the COVID-19 outbreak, the homeless population often doesn’t have that option. Chico Williams, who has been living in one of the tents downtown, is uncertain of where he’ll go next.

Courtesy of Carolyn Mueller

Carolyn Mueller, a local author and zookeeper at the St. Louis Zoo, has explored the trails of Forest Park for more than a decade. While many have walked up the famous Art Hill or picnicked at Shakespeare Glen, Mueller has also taken the paths less traveled within the city’s most sprawling green space.

Rebecca Clark

Christian Frommelt started swing dancing in 2007, and his hobby turned into a full-time job in 2014. With the coronavirus outbreak, he’s had to find a new way to reach audiences around the St. Louis area while practicing social distancing. 

During the swing era, from the 1920s to the 1940s, dancing was a way for people to feel a release during tough times. Across the U.S., people continue to dance to swing. But with the COVID-19 outbreak, today's dancers are missing out on that release.

The 70 Grand bus stops near St. Louis University in December 2018.
File Photo | Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

While many people are now working from home due to the spread of coronavirus, other members of the workforce, like grocery store staff, are still required by employers to go out to perform their regular duties and, in some cases, interact with the public. 

And since people need a way to get to those essential jobs, other sectors, such as transit, become inherently essential, too. Metro Transit has significantly decreased its frequency of weekday service and its ridership is down, but some buses and trains are still running.

Joan Fisher & Jordan Bauer

Since bars and restaurants are temporarily banned from providing dine-in service across the St. Louis region, many businesses are scrambling to adjust to a rapidly changing environment in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

In response, Christina Weaver and Megan Rohall of the Women’s Creative, an entrepreneurial collective, and Jordan Bauer of the Instagram account STLouisGram and the St. Louis guide and coupon book Experience Booklet joined forces to create a Facebook group called #314Together to bring local business and customers together again. 

Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Blues hosted their first-ever Pride Night in 2017 to much fanfare. Three years later, they’re doing things a bit differently. The National Hockey League and the Blues will hold their “Hockey Is For Everyone” event on the road and host a watch party March 24 in St. Louis instead. 

A few days ago, the Blues released a statement that detailed the team’s decision to host a watch party in their hometown: “Instead of foregoing ‘Hockey Is For Everyone’ completely,” it read in part, “we wanted to brainstorm ways to continue its application.”

Kay Marie of Perfective Photography and St. Louis Public Radio

While dating apps are supposed to make it easier to find love, many in St. Louis’ LGBTQ scene are finding drugs through the apps instead. Offers to sell drugs such as crystal meth, commonly referred to as “Tina” in the LGBTQ community, are common on dating apps such as Grindr and Scruff. 

Missouri native Brady Sims is ranked No. 27 in the world among professional bull riders.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Often referred to as the most dangerous eight seconds in sports, bull riding is not for the faint of heart. In fact, the medical director for the international organization Professional Bull Riders estimates that about 1 in 15 rides results in injury. Yet, the sport is gaining popularity.

Since PBR was founded in 1992, the sport has grown into a global phenomenon. Over the course of a weeklong competition, riders can earn up to six figures in prize money.

This weekend, PBR is hosting a competition at the Enterprise Center. Riders and their bulls will be coming to St. Louis with several events already under their belt, and competition this year has been tough.