This story is part of a series about local businesses affected by COVID-19. Read the previous story here.

When COVID-19 hit Texas, A&A Cleaning Services in Pearland, like countless other businesses across the United States, saw a significant drop in revenue.

The cleaning company serves residences and commercial properties from Galveston to Cypress, but the pandemic put a damper on business, owner Mona Chavarria said. While commercial businesses continued to use the cleaning company, many homeowners halted cleaning services.

“On our residential end, I can tell you that we certainly had a reduction in cash flow,” she said.

One significant relief during the economic turmoil for Chavarria and millions of other businesses across the nation was the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program. Under the program, businesses received forgivable or low-interest loans used primarily to keep workers employed.

A&A Cleaning Services employs about 50 full-time and 15-20 part-time workers, and PPP helped keep them all working, Chavarria said.

“[Without PPP], I would have laid people off,” Chavarria said. “At some point we had a residential end of employees that there was no work for them.”

For the PPP loan to be forgivable, Chavarria had to maintain the same level of employees throughout the pandemic. To do so, A&A Cleaning had to get creative.

The business began using ultraviolet light and disinfecting foggers normally used during flu season to clean buildings, which built another branch of business to keep A&A Cleaning afloat and employees working. It also helped other essential businesses stay sanitized with maintaining their own operations, Chavarria said.

“That [effort] really helped us [in] sustaining ... that PPP requirement by the government,” she said.

The new UV light and fogging cleaning option her business began is growing and giving A&A Cleaning the customers and clients necessary to continue operations. It helped that about 20 charitable residential customers continued to pay A&A Cleaning despite not getting services for several months, Chavarria said.

However, it still has been difficult to keep afloat, and it is unknown where the business may be in even two months, she said.

“It has been challenging. Very challenging,” Chavarria said. “I do think that the future is so unknown.”