The Pandemic Pause
News of an unusual virus coming out of China began circulating in December 2019. The highly contagious strain of coronavirus, named COVID-19, seemed so far away that no one really paid much attention until early 2020 when isolated cases began appearing in the US. Thought to be brought to the US by those recently visiting China, the US federal government quickly mobilized to mitigate the impact here at home. Little did we know in early 2020, that a worldwide pandemic was upon us.
To curb the spread of the virus, workplaces, restaurants, entertainment, and sports venues quickly shut down as professionals began working from home and students adapted to online classrooms. What was thought to be a quick but necessary adjustment to everyday life dragged on for nearly 1 ½ years. Scientists scrambled to develop and test a vaccine, while the economy ground to a halt, travel at home and abroad was curtailed, and the “new normal” meant never leaving your house and ordering delivery for everything from food to clothes.
Nearly a year after the first COVID-19 cases were identified, a vaccine began to roll out in the US. Moderna came first, followed by Pfizer and finally Johnson and Johnson. Eager to get back to their normal routine, Americans lined up at healthcare centers, doctors’ offices, and even stadiums and community centers to receive a shot. By Spring of 2021, many states dropped emergency stay-at-home orders, lifted mask-wearing requirements, and business establishments began to reopen in earnest.
So how did the extended Pandemic Pause impact the lighthouse? Sadly, both the annual lighthouse Birthday Open House for 2020 and 2021 were canceled. The annual Open House, held around the lighthouse’s birthday in early June, usually attracts almost 600 people who walk the beach and navigate the uneven rocks of the break wall to tour the 96-year-old structure and enjoy the views from the top. Despite the annual Open Houses being canceled, private tours were available by appointment for small groups, and many people took advantage of them.
However, renovation work on the lighthouse did continue. In 2020, water service was finally made available by rehabilitating the existing cistern for water storage. The equipment needed to successfully treat the water captured from the roof was installed and plumbing was run to the kitchen, laundry, and bathrooms. In 2021, the showers in the three bathrooms were tiled and made fully functional. Additionally, a new staircase was installed outside to make access to the platform easier than using a ladder. The fully restored transom windows were outfitted with custom designed stained-glass panels depicting the sunrise and moonrise at the lighthouse and bright red Adirondack chairs were added to the west patio area for better views of the daily sunset.
Like most Americans, at the lighthouse we look forward to better days ahead and we hope that in 2022, the pandemic and the impact it has had on so many aspects of our daily life will be definitively in the rear-view mirror.