Opinion

The turn to a new year is as much psychological as it is temporal. The calendar flipping to a new year has always been cause for celebration. The new year means making resolutions, plus it is the start of a new tax period. Not everything is new: for many the gloomy weather is the same on Jan. 1 as it was on Dec. 31. 

The new year is time to reset. There is nothing so promising as the advent of a whole new year.Though we will continue to suffer under COVID-19 and its affects on our lives, we can look to the near future for deliverance. The Pfizer and Moderna COVID vaccines are being delivered for health care workers and those in senior living facilities and will be available to the general population later in 2021. The creation of a vaccine fills us with hope, but it doesn’t make the virus go away. 

Experts say the coronavirus will be with us forever; we don’t get to tear off our face masks on Jan. 1 nor do we get to gather in large crowds in early January. The vaccines may give us all hope but we cannot let down our guard. More than 300,000 Americans have died from the virus and the health field says that we can expect many more deaths before the numbers start going down. 

Closer to home Gov. Kate Brown has now directed that public schools can open again by February, leaving the final decision to let students return up to each school district. That’s a welcome turn—students need to get back to in-person learning and the socializing that comes with it. Now that Brown is allowing schools to re-open she needs to do the same for Oregon’s eateries and lounges. If science is a deciding factor, then we need to heed the fact that restaurants, when operated under proper protocols, are not superspreader sites.

If the new year opens the classroom doors then let’s see the doors of our neigborhood restaurants open as well. If everyone does their duty by wearing masks, distancing, washing hands and surfaces, then it can be a happy new year for those who make their living by serving others. On Feb. 7 the Super Bowl takes place, always a reason to crowd together in sports bars and on sofas. We have to be mindful that our celebration of football doesn’t cause another surge. We’ll take lives over football any day.

What will truly make 2021 a happy year is an eventual return to some semblence of life as well knew it pre-coronovirus. We are all eager to attend the traditional events of the community: Easter egg hunts, worship services, KeizerFEST and high school games. None of that will happen if we don’t stay vigilant. 

The waning year has illustrated in big, bold strokes the generosity of Keizer. Without asking for direction Keizerites jumped in to help victims of the wildfires in Santiam Canyon. Food, daily living needs, financial donations and manpower was offered. There but for the grace of God, go we. 

The lessons we learned in 2020 will give us the tools to make the new year as promising as it can be. Let us turn the page on the calendar, remember the past but look forward with the Keizer grit we’re known for.

 —LAZ