March 6, 2021

Stevens County Times

Your spot for community news in Stevens County, Minnesota

A Year Of Despair Ends With Hope

For the last week I have been working on a story to review the year 2020 for this issue of the newspaper. If ever you want to preserve history, this is the issue to save for future generations to see what it was like to live through this pandemic. 

Week after week I reviewed the back issues and selected the most interesting and historical stories. Naturally, most of them had to do with Covid-19 and the many regulations that were made by national and state officials, Minnesota Health Department, Minnesota Department of Education and the Center for Disease Control. Starting in March, not a single month went by without some type of new regulation that we were expected to abide by. 

Our schools took a big hit. First being closed with all distance learning. Then things like proms, concerts, competitions and sporting events were cancelled. The children were asked not to socialize and to remain six feet apart when they were together. Later masks were added into the requirements for our children. Even going so far as to restart sports but requiring the masks to be worn off the court at first and now also on the court. No matter how resilient our children are, all these changes, the fear and hopelessness, can take a toll. 

Our businesses have been hit hard. Retail stores were closed for about three months with no options for sales. Beauty shops and barbershops were also closed. Non­essential businesses were all required to be closed. Bars and restaurants were closed for those three months and then again at the end of the year. It doesn’t really matter what size of community you live in, it has been tough to own a small business. 

In my opinion, the people hurt the worst are our elderly. The ones in nursing homes or assisted living facilities that have been closed to the public for nearly a year. They are also the ones who can succumb to the disease far more often than others. No matter how hard we have tried to keep them safe, the virus is still getting to them and we are losing them in huge numbers. 

Hope is on the horizon as the vaccines are being approved and administered. I was so happy to see the residents of long-term care facilities get the vaccines in this first round. I really hope that they will be able to get together with loved ones very soon. I grieve for the ones who did not make it long enough to get the vaccine. 

There is also hope for the rest of us as the vaccines continue to be administered in a slow but concise manner. It will take some time, but after this long and tedious year, a few more months will be nothing. We just need to remember to continue to abide by regulations put in place for our own safety. That way we can survive this pandemic and live to tell the stories of what happened in 2020.

Katie Erdman