SUMMIT, NJ — It's hard to deny that the coronavirus pandemic was the biggest local and national story of 2020, with the U.S. death toll reaching more than 340,000 Americans Wednesday.
On the local level, mayors suddenly were thrust into a new role: fielding questions, helping residents find tests (in short supply in spring), consoling those who lost loved ones.
After the initial state lockdown from March to June to slow the spread, what was next?
Summit has a vibrant downtown: But how to help the shops and restaurants survive? And what's the best and safest way for students to learn on screens?
But of course, there were other big stories:
Protests against racial inequities after the death of George Floyd in June
Crime (particularly stolen cars)
And severe storms with flooding and downed trees.
To read Summit's biggest stories, see below. (To see the overall biggest in Union County, click here.)
Here are some of the top stories in Summit this year:
An area woman wrote to Patch in March, desperate for a coronavirus test when supplies were limited. Local doctors perished. Many of the towns' death tolls were high in part because of long-term care facilities (who waited for weeks for the state to call in the National Guard), provoking investigative reports in the press.
To be remote, or not to be remote? In spring, schools suddenly had to figure out how to teach kids via computer. In fall, they had to figure out how to send them back safely. Some districts chose a hybrid plan, but had to close temporarily due to positive tests.
The state released guidelines for outdoor dining. Local towns allowed restaurants and shops to sell outdoors, and many restaurants expanded their delivery and takeout options.
Some establishments had to close, both chains and local venues, while others opened.
Summit saw a heated contest over two spots on the Town Council, during a heated presidential election.
Local police chiefs and schools superintendents spoke out after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and protests were held.
In towns including Summit, police sternly reminded residents to stop leaving their doors unlocked, particularly with key fobs inside.
Several severe storms swept through the area, including Tropical Storm Isaias in August, which caused downed trees and power outages in several Union County towns.
And earlier this month, a nor'easter dumped more than 10 inches of snow on the area and closed most schools. But some residents submitted great photos, including a 10-year-old Summit girl.
What's to come in Summit? Watch for Patch's previews in the new year: Development, business, more!
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