• Datta Khalsa

2020 THE YEAR IN (RE)VIEW

While in life the years tend to rush by faster as we get older, the year 2020 seems to have been somehow frozen in time, marked by challenges and plot twists that one would have barely found believable as part of some dystopian work of fiction, let alone in real life.


March 11, 2020 marked the day the WHO declared we were facing a pandemic, and things haven’t been the same since. Most of us can name where we were at the moment when we realized that Covid wasn’t going to be just another flu.


For families who started their Spring Break thinking that the kids were going back to school as usual, this meant suddenly pivoting to Zoom meetings and sheltering-in-place. For a generation of high school seniors, it meant no senior prom and no graduation celebration. And for University students, it was the prospect of giving up campus life to shelter-in-place back with their parents, a move that many have since reconsidered.


Life quickly became a blur where our daily routines now include social distancing, pods, Zoom meetings and working from home. During extreme swings we have seen empty shelves, and toilet paper as a commodity, and experienced a world where hugs and handshakes have become private currency.


For many businesses deemed non-essential by the powers that be, it meant closing down and losing their livelihood in the short term, or in some cases permanently. And for the rest of us, it has meant pivoting and learning to work under a whole new set of rules and constraints.


The real estate industry saw sweeping changes in the process, marked by new protocols with gloves, booties, hand sanitizer, face masks and the ubiquitous PEAD form when property showings have been allowed, where open houses became a thing of the past and virtual showings replaced live viewings during lockdown periods.


With the recent surge driving us back to code purple, the new lockdown rules have returned to allowing no property showings in most of the Bay Area. For the time being, the Santa Cruz County Health Department and Board of Supervisors, working in close collaboration with our Association of Realtors leadership team, agreed to allow property showings to continue at least through January under the strict protocols that were developed to keep the process safe.


As if the pandemic wasn’t tough enough, our lives were also disrupted by widespread fires and a bitter and divisive election on top of unthinkable economic and health hardships. And yet, in the midst of all this, we also witnessed the bonds of friends and family becoming stronger, underscoring the significance of the human connections we share with those around us.


With this in mind, in the face of increased social distancing measures that are being observed over the holidays, it is my hope that we can take the opportunity to continue to find ways to keep everyone’s livelihoods viable and take stock of the things that are truly important for our collective happiness as we prepare for whatever the new normal may be as we move into life after 2020.



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