2020 – A year that will be remembered
By Randy Garrison
I have heard several folks mention that as of Jan. 1, 2021, 2020 will be hindsight.
While none of us have answers for the year that has been 2020, I am sure many lessons have been learned and changes have taken place that will be part of our future.
When the year began, I think most had high hopes for the year. The economy was performing well, the stock market was on record highs, and most folks felt pretty good about their jobs, income and future financial status.
Unemployment was low in our area and state, many businesses were expanding, and growth was expected to continue.
Then words of a new virus came into the news.
Coronavirus, or COVID-19, began to be talked about, and a diagnosis in the U.S. was first confirmed the end of January 2020. I believe it was thought to have been from someone traveling from China.
Moving ahead a couple of months, it was the topic of conversation in most areas of the country.
Here in the City, we found ourselves discussing operations in a way that had not been on anyone’s mind prior to COVD-19.
How could we protect our employees and keep them healthy? How could city services continue if we had a large outbreak here, and which services had to take priority?
How could we find the necessary PPE and sanitizers that were needed to protect first responders, police and fire?
Many of us had never taken part in a ZOOM meeting, but we learned how to do this. We searched for ways to conduct business from home instead of city offices. In–person meetings were pretty much cancelled.
Sending out updates to our citizens about closing parks, the civic center, City Hall and the library were happening for the first time. Canceling spring sports was a difficult decision, as was not opening the Aquatic Center for the season.
Buying sanitizer in 55-gallon drum was no longer unheard of. Our schools closed to in–person instruction.
As the spring moved forward, state health officials’ and the governor’s updates seemed to get more stringent and affect more people. Soon local restaurants were closed except for curbside and drive–through ordering, and local retail shops were closed.
Later, large retailers were limited to half of their usual customer load.
Churches were closed for in–person worship, and most offered online services.
The wearing of masks had been recommended, but soon it was a state mandate to wear one in public places.
The words “social distancing” were heard on all forms of media. Hand–washing techniques were posted in most places. The thought process was to keep from overwhelming the healthcare system.
Most were experiencing changes and circumstances we’d never thought about, unless from some type of Armageddon type movie.
Folks were asked to stay home other than going to work or buying food. Many with health issues stayed home and depended on others to bring in supplies.
Buying toilet paper became a struggle.
While this was going on, in spring and summer the numbers were lower, but come fall – and especially late fall – the numbers continued to climb. Schools were in session, but large numbers of staff and students were quarantined.
The City had its first case of a positive test for an employee.
Business could reopen; however, many were still limited on occupancy. Annual festivals and parades were canceled here and all around.
As the holidays came and went, the numbers of cases has continued to climb.
While in the beginning many of us did not know of anyone with the virus, at this point, most of us cannot name the number of folks we know who have had the virus, and sadly many of us have lost family members and friends to the virus.
As of today, the number hospitalized because of COVID-19 is higher than ever.
The number of positive cases seems to rise each day.
However, as the year ends, two vaccines have been approved, and first–line folks are already being given the dose.
Let’s all join in prayer that the vaccine works; the number of folks contracting the virus lessens; we can visit friends and family; worshippers feel safe to attend church; and we stop losing our family and friends from the effects of this horrible virus.
May God bless our city and heal our folks.