Editor’s note: The coronavirus pandemic brought some of the first cases to the Florida Keys in March and changed our island life in ways no one could have imagined.
A checkpoint kept visitors away and the virus at bay, but impacted jobs, business, income and mental health.
Policies were changed to address the increasing spread. Meetings and fundraisers were moved online, and we all became experts at Zoom, Google Meet and using our webcams as mirrors before “joining” a virtual event.
The Keys reopened to visitors in June and workers returned to jobs in hotels, bars, restaurants and retail stores, and aboard dive, snorkel and fishing boats.
Each week, in our Hindsight 2020 feature, the Key West Weekly will highlight locals’ reflections on a year of unprecedented changes and challenges.
DAVID AND HEATHER MAY SLOAN
David Sloan is an author, entrepreneur and creator of The Robert the Doll Experience. Heather May Victoria Sloan is a teacher at Sigsbee Charter School, and is often on stage in live theatrical performances.
Describe your 2020 in 3 words: Best. Pandemic. Ever.
What canceled activity or event did you miss the most? Our honeymoon cruise through Canada.
What Netflix or other TV/movie programming did you discover or rediscover during the pandemic? All of them.
Did you have COVID? No. But we Googled symptoms and believed we had it 427 times.
What’s your pandemic pet peeve? People talking about the pandemic.
What’s one good thing that came out of this period for you? The perfect grilled cheese sandwich.
Describe your hopes for 2021 in 3 words Be Here Now
BECKI BALCER & TONY ‘FAT’ YANIZ
Becki Balcer is event coordinator and development director for the Monroe Association for Remarkable Citizens (MARC). Tony ‘Fat’ Yaniz is a former city commissioner and assistant general manager and director of sales and marketing at Coconut Beach Resort.
Describe your 2020 in 3 words:
BECKI: Not as advertised
TONY: A serious lesson
What canceled activity or event did you miss the most?
BECKI: Races, attending live sporting events, travel, live theater
TONY: Coronation Ball, Locals March, Fantasy Fest King And Queen events, but mostly the theater!
What Netflix or other TV/movie programming did you discover or rediscover during the pandemic?
BECKI: “The Good Place,” “Schitt’s Creek,” “The Clone Wars,” “The Mandalorian”
TONY: “Fargo,” “Good Lord Bird,” “The Mandalorian”
Did you have COVID?
What’s your pandemic pet peeve?
BECKI: People not wearing masks or wearing them below the nose (dick nose).
TONY: People who won’t wear masks.
What’s one good thing that came out of this period for you?
BECKI: My golf game improved. I wouldn’t have taken the leap to (work at) MARC. Family time.
TONY: Bad times make you appreciate good times!
Describe your hopes for 2021 in 3 words:
BECKI: Better than 2020.
TONY: Gonna be awesome!
‘LOBSTER LEE’ STARLING
Longtime commercial diver and fisherman “Lobster Lee” Starling looks forward to the “restoration of our freedom” in 2021.
Describe your 2020 in 3 words:
BOHICA — Bend Over, Here It Comes Again. (Editor’s note: BOHICA is acronym slang used by troops in the U.S. armed forces during the Vietnam War. It means that an adverse situation is about to repeat itself.)
What canceled activity or event did you miss the most? Key West Christmas Parade
What Netflix or other TV/movie programming did you discover or rediscover during the pandemic? “Vikings”
Did you have COVID? Maybe, back in November 2019
What’s your pandemic pet peeve? Nose outside of the mask
What’s one good thing that came out of this period for you? Relearning old skills to create income
Describe your hopes for 2021 in 3 words: Restoration of freedom