Commissioner Edna Fund and Sharon Taylor participated in the Static Parade on July 4, 2020 in Chehalis.
In all the years of writing about the year's events, this is the first year I am wondering if I can fit everything into one paper. This was the year that took all of us by surprise, surprises in ways we would have never thought. Tragedies, businesses lost, and an uproar in our country we have not seen since the 1960s. While the year started out with zero knowledge of a virus, it would soon change everything we know about our world.
We started the year off with hope and excitement, within a few weeks COVID-19 was announced right here in our state. It was in a nursing home that was on lockdown, no concerns. Washingtonians continued to go on about their day, still not concerned for what was to come roaring through. Before long, our lives were going to be altered, not for a week, a month, but for the entire year. February would be the beginning of the changes.
In March, Governor Inslee ordered a "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order. The ban included no social gatherings and closures of all nonessential businesses. We saw schools go remote, students were no longer in the classroom.
In April, businesses were starting to struggle, we had no idea how long. This is when we started to see an increase in suicides and drug overdoses in Lewis County, being home was killing people.
By the end of May, we saw another change. George Floyd was killed and our big city streets erupted in riots. Businesses were burned down, police were killed. We were also introduced to a new phased opening for businesses during Covid.
June brought car cruises for graduates, as graduation was canceled. It was different for seniors, they could not have commencement ceremonies. Communities came out to support the local seniors. The biggest change was masks were now mandated, while some businesses were partially allowed to open. Black Lives Matter held a peaceful protest in Toledo. For the first time, a foreign area was set up in our state, known as CHOP, "Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone." It was a violent area where two lives were eventually lost. Times have changed, violence has now erupted in our state and our capital.
By July 1, CHOP was being dismantled but problems in Seattle and Portland continued. People were starting to get restless. Winlock had a murder, a woman killed a man on Hwy 505. Lewis County was still in a phased operating which meant our businesses were not fully open. Now, we saw businesses suffering.
Politics were heating up now, they started getting active in April/May, but now politics, riots, and COVID were the only news we would see.
By August, the COVID cases were on the rise, we heard schools would start remotely. Freedom and Back the Blue Rallies were starting to take place. Overdoses were still higher than COVID cases.
It was announced in September that Lowes was coming to the Benaroya Industrial Park. Unfortunately, we would later find out they paid 10% below the national average.
COVID cases continued to be on the rise in Lewis County, by October, businesses were still suffering, especially restaurants. Toledo had the largest political rally in the county, at the Merten Ranch. Politics were in high gear. Schools were starting to reopen where they could. Halloween was celebrated, even against the orders of small gatherings, people had had enough.
November we were hoping to see the end of politics, local county races went off without a hitch. We now had two new Lewis County Commissioners. We also saw a huge change in the 19th District, with a new legislator and senator. The state and national politics would continue even to the end of the year. We saw tighter restrictions again. Restaurants were closed for inside dining and gyms were closed. People were beyond restless, people would soon start saying enough.
The City of Mossyrock would be first.
The City of Mossyrock signed an ordinance (which did not protect the businesses) allowing the businesses to open. Spiffy's opened up because their employees were having issues getting unemployment. The Governor would take a hard stand on Lewis County sending Labor and Industries to the town and restaurants to threaten or fine them back into submission. By the end of the month, Spiffy's would be in court fighting the governor's orders, the outcome is not yet known.
While 2020 has been a year to remember, it is also a year where each community came out to support their local businesses. To see so many local people help those they did not know, was a heartwarming experience for all of us. While we struggled, we also opened our hearts to things we never thought we would.