12 Months That Ushered in Hardship, Change

Photo by Christian Leonard / Burbank Leader
Businesses faced strict restrictions, events were canceled and families lost loved ones in 2020 due to the coronavirus — a pandemic that seems to show little signs of receding. Nonetheless, many Burbank residents sought to inspire hope and joy where they could, supporting their neighbors during the tumultuous time.

With the passing of 2020, many would likely be grateful if they never heard the word “unprecedented” again.
The just-finished year’s news cycle was largely dominated by the coronavirus pandemic, as well as its effects on every aspect of daily life. But as COVID-19 surged through California, the United States and much of the world, other stories also hit the front page: renewed calls for racial justice, a frantic election cycle, wildfires.
Through it all, Burbank residents reflected much of what was happening around them, echoing the fear, sorrow and disappointment felt by their neighbors. Many struggled with previously mundane tasks, made frustratingly complicated and often wholly dependent on a decent internet connection. Some lost loved ones. Others saw their small businesses close down forever.
But there were also points — however small — of optimism, determination and hope. Restaurant and shop owners pledged to one day open new businesses. Churches, nonprofits and businesses partnered to give food and other necessities to those in need. Families found ways to celebrate traditions while staying safe, or to remember those who had passed.
And many, over time, learned to adjust to the unprecedented.
Here are some of Burbank’s biggest stories of 2020.

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A Time of Pandemic, Protest, Change

Photo by Zane Hill / Glendale News-Press
A large crowd marches down Central Avenue en route to Artsakh Avenue in support of Armenia and the Artsakh Republic in their conflict with Azerbaijan. The local Armenian diaspora’s efforts have included activism and donation drives.

For many, Friday, Jan. 1, represented a long-overdue turn of the page from a year that lived up to no one’s expectations.
From the beginning of 2020, news trickled into American airwaves and newsprint that a mysterious virus had secretly wreaked havoc throughout much of China and had begun spreading at uncontrolled levels through South Korea, Iran, Italy and Spain. Reports of overwhelmed hospitals, mass graves and widespread lockdowns also spread.
And then the accounts started coming out of New York City. And Seattle. And a well-known pork processing plant in South Dakota.
By March 11, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 was declared to be a global pandemic. Locally, by March 13 — auspicious, indeed, as a Friday the 13th — school districts were closing, cities were declaring states of emergency and officials were openly discussing what would become the Safer at Home orders. Restaurants were limited to takeout or delivery. Personal care services, entertainment venues and bars closed. Nonessential retailers had to close. The NBA suspended its season.

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