Even before a city of Columbia ordinance closed all non-essential services last week, Sarah Allers wasn't entirely sure how her massage therapy business, Massage Works, was going to weather the COVID-19 crisis.

But she's keeping the faith.

Allers believes her loyal customers some of whom have supported her business for the 11 years she's been in Columbia, others whom she sees like clockwork every two weeks will still be there when she's able to open the doors to her Middleburg Drive business again.

"Oh, yes, I really do," Allers said. "I always call massage work the little engine that could, because it's only me. The little engine can only put out so much, but the little engine never stops. The fact that I've been blessed to be in business for 11 years here in this community, it shows me that people have supported me, and I'm so humbled by it."

Allers' work schedule had already been disrupted before new coronavirus concerns by removal of a basal cell carcinoma. The surgery has also kept Allers, an avid runner who competed in the 1996 Olympic Marathon Trials and was named the S.C. Masters Runner of the Year in 2017, sidelined from her other favorite form of stress relief.

"This has coincided with me not being able to run, so I'm even nuttier," Allers said with a laugh.

Allers is used to peaks and valleys in the massage business, though none as pronounced as this.

"It's sort of yo-yo like anyway, because it will be runners training for races, or 'Oh I'm doing a marathon, I need to get untangled,' or now we're not racing," she said. "I've seen the ebb and flow. Typically I'll go, 'OK , it must be fair week. No one's coming in', or 'OK, there's...

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