A rose to the Jay Fisher, Lowndes County Administrator for his foresight in addressing changes to the county’s COVID-19 policy. On Monday, Fisher apprised the board of supervisors of a change in a federal COVID relief program that could affect county employees and urged supervisors to adjust its policy. Under the program, employees who contracted the coronavirus or were required to quarantine after exposure to the virus were provided 80 hours of paid time-off. That part of the program was not renewed in the bill signed by the President on Dec. 27. Fisher suggested the county provide those 80 hours of time off, something approved by the state Legislature in March. Supervisors will explore that option, as well as other possibilities and adjust their police on Monday. We encourage other local governments — as well as private employers — to act as well to cover any gaps created by the new federal COVID relief program.
A thorn to 2020, which with only a few exceptions, was a low-down, miserable year. The year will be remembered as the year of a pandemic which continues to sicken, kill and disrupt our lives, livelihoods, education, recreation, even how we practice our religion. As if that weren’t enough, ugly incidents of racial hatred opened the fault lines of racial injustice that will be a challenge for our nation. The Presidential election only aggravated the deep divisions in our nation while natural disasters — wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes — brought pain and suffering from coast to coast. The best thing we can say about 2020 is that it’s over. Good riddance.
A rose to all who have reached out to those in need during the difficult year and a call for further action. While local charities saw the demands caused by COVID-19 increase, many reported lower-than-normal donations, much of it due to an inability to hold fund-raising events that accounted for much of their budget. As we enter the new year, we encourage all citizens to keep supporting our local charities through donations. The needs have rarely been higher nor the resources in lower supply. Let’s step up and bridge the gap by donating what we can, when we can.