A quick scan of Tuesday’s edition of The Daily News might lead some to believe — one year later — that life is returning to a somewhat normal state. Traffic jams on the seawall, a big cruise ship development update and restaurants looking to hire enough employees to service customers. Heck, even the Astros won a game on Monday night.
What a difference 12 months can make. One year ago, most of us were sitting at home, businesses closing and everyone hoping a vaccine would soon be available.
COVID-19 sure did a number on our health, businesses and even the way we approach life in the past year. But with, in an almost unthinkable scenario, mass vaccination sites closing down because of low demand, life in Galveston County is giving us a peek at what our new normal may look like.
In Texas City, the Lone Star Auto Show once again took over the streets, drawing people from all over the metro market to visit. And walking among the rows of chrome and horsepower, people visited and made friends — just like in pre-COVID-19 days.
In Galveston, police returned to managing traffic blockages and employers spoke of the struggles to meet demand. One year ago, new unemployment claims numbers were so painful one could hardly watch the reports. Today, those same businesses, after having endured a historic challenge to survive and get to the other side, now struggle with getting supplies and people to serve customers.
One year ago, who would’ve thought this possible?
According to Michael Woody, chief tourism officer with the park board in Galveston, local communities have reason to be encouraged.
“For us to have 30 million people within a 300-mile radius, really having a deep desire to get out of the house, it was a great opportunity for them to come and experience time on the island,” Woody said.
Local business entrepreneur Dennis Byrd shared how disruptions to the supply chain contribute to his not being able to get beef, chicken, ketchup, french fries, plastic cups or whiskey.
“Every week it’s either getting substituted or it’s not there at all,” Byrd said.
Again, one year ago none of us would’ve ventured a guess at what the world might look like down the road.
The good news is, the new world is going to be much like the old one — only different.
Life will go on, but in a different fashion for Galveston County residents, visitors and local businesses. The latter, not unlike The Daily News, undertook business model changes to reflect the local market and customers’ preferences. But in the end, all of us are looking forward and adapting as best we can to the new world.
Our new day is here. And while it may not look exactly like yesterday, Galveston County has much to be thankful for. Let’s go forth and welcome our new world and enjoy the place we call home.
• Leonard Woolsey