Year in Review: Adaptation Key in 2020

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We know we haven’t been around all year, but that’s not going to stop us from reviewing the year that was in 2020. So far we’ve reviewed the biggest stories in news and business, looked at the year that was in sports, and told you about five people who made an impact in the community.

The COVID-19 pandemic dominated almost every aspect of life in 2020, today, we bring you five stories of how businesses and organizations adapted to life during a pandemic.

  1. Frontline Worker Campaign/Frontline Worker Support Program: Government responses took center stage for much of the year, but most people would agree frontline and essential workers have been the heroes of the fight against COVID-19. Total Evolution Cafe announced its Frontline Worker Campaign on Dec. 8. The Cafe has a special menu where people may purchase food trays to be delivered to frontline workers throughout the region.  “It is the least we can do,” Total Evolution’s Lisa Streich-Means said. “Hopefully, it makes an impact.” The Warren County Commissioners, in conjunction with the Warren County Chamber of Business and Industry, the Community Foundation and the Warren Lions Club announced the Frontline Worker Support Program a week later. “I am grateful these organizations have come together to increase support for the vital staff on the front lines of the pandemic,” Commissioner Jeff Eggleston said. The program made its first deliveries last week.
  2. Keeping Traditions: The pandemic changed many things in 2020, as the holiday season approached people tried to find ways to keep some traditions going. The annual Downtown Christmas Walk was held in a different way this year. There was a virtual shoebox parade and children weren’t able to sit on Santa’s lap, but there was still a focus on ‘Good Will Towards All.’ Due to gathering restrictions, many local places of worship changed how they held Christmas Eve services. Drive-thru and virtual services took the place of in-person worship, but all with the goal of trying to bring people together. “We thought we had to do something for Christmas,” Praise Fellowship pastor Rick Rohlin said. “It gives everyone the opportunity to be a part of the rhythm of Christmas.”
  3. Businesses Adjust: With gathering limits, occupancy restrictions and other mitigation efforts in place, many businesses were forced to adjust on the fly. Warren General Hospital changed its visitation policy to help keep patients safe. Northwest Bank moved to ‘by appointment only’ for its branch lobbies. The Warren County YMCA had appointments for lap swimming and multiple restaurants offered takeout and delivery services to keep bringing people their favorite dishes, just to name a few.
  4. Keeping the River Clean: The annual Allegheny River Clean-Up typically attracts hundreds who want to help keep one of the county’s biggest natural resources beautiful.This year, due to COVID-19 precautions, it was cut to two days and capped at a max of 40 volunteers per day. “ A lot of these volunteers we see once a year,” said Allegheny Outfitters’ Piper VanOrd. “It’s a welcoming reunion of people we don’t see on a regular basis. We definitely missed a lot of people. But I’m thankful we were able to get out there.”
  5. Keeping Fit: With people teleworking and fitness centers either closed or having to abide by occupancy limits, the Warren County YMCA offered a unique challenge to members and non-members alike. The month-long “Strong Challenge” encouraged people to get on their feet and get moving to help stay healthy, both physically and mentally, while stuck inside. “We’ve all been kind of knocked on our butts in 2020,” Warren County YMCA Marketing & Grant Director Kim Slocum said. “We want people to get stronger while we’re moving inside. Working out and doing things helps the immune system get better.”