As the book is closed on 2020, local leaders are looking to the year 2021 with optimism.
“I’m looking forward to the new year,” said West Columbia Mayor Tem Miles.
He said now that there are COVID-19 vaccines being distributed, we can begin to think about getting back to normal after the virus had such an impact in 2020.
The SC Department of Health and Environmental Control said the state has developed a federally approved COVID-19 Vaccine Plan centered for equitable distribution of the vaccine across the state, based on the most current federal guidance.
In December, Lexington Medical Center in West Columbia received about 3,000 of the first doses released of the vaccine for frontline healthcare workers at the hospital.
The SC Department of Education has announced that educators and support staff will be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Phase 1b under current state and federal vaccine guidelines. Phase 1b will begin once 70 percent of South Carolinians identified in Phase 1a have been vaccinated. That could start as early as Jan. 15.
School nurses as critical public health care workers are able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in the current Phase 1a.
Visit https://scdhec.gov/covid19/covid-19-vaccination for the latest information and answers to FAQs on the COVID-19 vaccine.
With the vaccine, there is hope.
“I look forward to businesses getting back to full employment so things can get back to normal,” Miles said. He also praised the City of West Columbia’s staff for going above and beyond the call of duty to deal with the challenges of 2020 brought on by an international pandemic.
Other leaders in the community share Miles’ optimism.
“Despite all that we have endured in 2020, I believe the better days are coming in 2021,” said Rev. Kenneth Taylor of Turner Memorial AME Church.
“My prayer is for the success of the (COVID) vaccination rollout, because I so look forward to the opportunity for more socializing and in person worship,” Taylor said. “I know that we can worship God from our homes but I believe the gathering together of people has a positive impact on us all.”
Taylor said in-person visits are important.
“I also look forward to being able to visit seniors, and family members again without fear of putting them at risk of illness,” Taylor said.
He said hopes to get back to ministering in hospitals with those who are dealing with life-threatening issues.
From a business perspective, there is much to anticipate. Savage Craft Ale Works at 430 Center St. is set to open in 2021. D’s Wings is renovating space next-to the City of West Columbia’s Interactive Art Park, at 425 Meeting Street. D’s is scheduled to open in May.
Along the Sunset Boulevard corridor, near Lexington Medical Center, the Towneplace Suites by Marriott will open, soon.
You can also support many local vendors every Saturday, from 9:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., at the Meeting Street Artisan Market, 425 Meeting Street.
City of West Columbia Economic Development Director B.J. Unthank said lots of property is being annexed into the City Limits and he anticipates it will be developed into new businesses in the coming year.
With 2020 behind us,there is much to see in the future. And West Columbia is hoping for a brighter year in 2021.