Yesterday, March 13th, marked the one year anniversary of the day the Vermont Legislature closed the State House and the Governor declared a state of emergency due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Today is exactly one year since I wrote my first update to you with information about the pandemic, health and safety protocols, state and community resources, and stories of struggle and hope. Since then I’ve written many more updates to keep my constituents informed during this difficult, often frightening, and confusing year.
I know this past year has been one of loss for so many of us. Many Vermonters have lost family members and friends to COVID directly or indirectly. Many people have lost jobs, opportunities, time with friends and family, or important events, trips, and rites of passage. It’s been an especially difficult year for senior citizens and people with serious illnesses who have faced isolation because of their vulnerability to the virus. Frontline workers have lived with the stress and anxiety of needing to go to work while living in a constant state of unknown risk. Students of all ages have missed time in the classroom, spent hours in front of screens, and given up socializing and growing with friends and peers. Employees at restaurants, hotels, arts organizations, and many other work places have lost jobs and the security of a well-earned paycheck. Everyone has lost or missed out on something this year. It has not been easy for anyone.
And yet, our community and state have come together in amazing ways, sharing resources, offering support and gratitude, bringing each other hope and joy, making food and supplies, providing shelter and medical care. We have taken the pandemic seriously and done what we’ve needed to to protect each other and get through this together. Along the way, we’ve taken note of the lessons we can learn to make our community even stronger and healthier, more inclusive and just, more resilient and sustainable.
There is light at the end of this tunnel. More and more Vermonters are getting vaccinated each week. The days are getting longer; spring and warm weather are coming. We must remain vigilant and safe for a few more months. But by summer, most adults will hopefully be vaccinated and we can slowly, cautiously venture toward a new normal, one where we can enjoy the the freedom to gather, travel, and celebrate without forgetting the lessons we have learned and the sacrifices so many have made. (As always, the best source of information about COVID resources and protocols, including vaccines, is the Vermont Department of Health website.)
March 13 is my birthday, so the day the pandemic officially began in Vermont is starkly etched in my head. I turned 50 and the world seemed to fall apart. Yesterday I celebrated another birthday, and the pandemic continues, but so much has changed. Writing these posts and helping people access assistance and get information has buoyed me through a difficult year. It’s been an honor to be your senator during this time of crisis. Thank you for continuing to put your trust in me.
We can do this together. We can stay safe and recover from the darkness of this pandemic. By the time I turn 52, we will have a brave new world in our brave little state. Let’s make it so. Stay safe and well.