Let the celebrations begin, there is less-than one week of the dumpster fire known as 2020 left on our calendar. 

This past year has been a difficult one with everything from coronavirus to businesses closing, face masks, restrictions put in place about where we can eat and sit and the cancellation of sports. The death and destruction left by COVID-19 is something that has changed our world forever, and not in the good way. 

We will still have the after affects of COVID-19 as we head into 2021, but as the year gets closer to an end there is a sense of optimism for the new year.

I think back to the year 1999, the end of the 20th century as a time which mirrors the start of 2021. There was a sense of relief that we didn’t all die in a nuclear attack gone awry from computers that would malfunction at the turn of the century. 

We hope when the clock strikes midnight this week we can all start over in our “new normal,” whatever that is anymore, and go back to living our lives without our elected officials getting in their own way. At some point the restrictions that are crippling small businesses need to subside a bit, or what we will be left with is a few McDonald’s, Wal Mart and Dollar General and not much else.

A few weeks ago I was talking to a business owner in town who told me how much their sales were down from the previous year. This business was deemed essential, yet said without sporting events at night, bars and restaurants being able to serve people for sit down dining and community activities, there wasn’t a reason for people to come to town after 5 p.m. What’s scary is how each one of the businesses in our community feed off of one another and when one industry like the hospitality or educational industry is down, the rest of the businesses in a community feel the effects as well. 

We hope that as the new year comes, with it brings some changes like the returning of high school sports, dining at restaurants and loosening of some of the restrictions for businesses. We also hope you continue to support all of the businesses in our town to keep them going through the dog days of winter, because if not, we will be left to wonder what could have been as another business locks its doors for the final time.

If 2020 has taught us anything it’s that we need to slow down, appreciate what is in front of us and don’t take for granted what we have in our own backyards. After all, in a blink of an eye it could all be gone, whether it is due to a virus from China or a car accident on your way to work. That being said, I think we are all ready for 2020 to be over.