Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk – January 1, 2021

Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk – January 1, 2021

It was a pleasure to spend some time this week looking ahead to 2021. The following are some thoughts on what will make news over the next 12 months.

•2021 will not include any governor-mandated stay-at-home orders in Maryland.

•Masks in public places and outside when social distancing not possible will be required throughout 2021.

•With production continuously ramping up, COVID-19 vaccinations will become available for the general public at area pharmacies beginning in May.

•The summer will again see capacity restrictions for restaurants but not as severe as those seen in 2020. By July, bars will be allowed to return to 2 a.m. closings.

•A petition effort will be launched to raise the maximum number of vehicles on the Assateague OSV area from 145 to 170. The year will close without any sort of decision being made.

•Due to President Biden lifting Trump’s restrictions, the foreign student workers will be back in Ocean City next summer but not at typical volumes.

•Redevelopment continues along the Boardwalk in Ocean City with plans announced to demolish and rebuild the Phillips Beach Plaza property.

•After a series of tweets stating the opposite, President Trump will attend the virtual inauguration of President-Elect Joe Biden. Moments after leaving the event, he will unveil his 2024 campaign mantra, confirming he will seek to regain his presidency at the age of 78. Biden will be 82 years old in 2024.

•Current Maryland Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford will announce his intention to run for governor in 2022.

•Worcester County public schools will begin welcoming back students its second wave of students by the end of January.

•A stimulus payment in 2021 will be contingent on whether the individual is vaccinated.

•Worcester County public schools will be able to offer in-person instruction through the remainder of the school year while health metrics continuing to rise and fall. Internet connectivity issues continue to surface.

•The Maryland General Assembly will approve sports betting facilities at all six casinos, including at the Ocean Downs Casino. Additionally, it will be allowed online.

•Many of the same crime problems will plague June in Ocean City, but all indications confirm a major improvement over the serious incidents from this past June.

•Ocean City will begin a major Boardwalk redecking project next October.

•All public schools will continue to provide distance learning options to students uncomfortable with returning to school in September.

•The Town of Ocean City will include a small walk-through lights trail with its ride-through Winterfest of Lights event. Positive feedback from guests this year will encourage officials to incorporate a pedestrian-only loop each year.

•Berlin will go through 2021 without any proposed annexations.

•Unlike the mild winter of 2020, this winter will see a significant snowfall.

•Springfest in Ocean City will be held in early May, but major modifications will be made with no live music acts booked.

•After being canceled this year, Sunfest will return in 2021 with only small changes made. Live entertainment will be booked.

•Legislation will pass in the Maryland General Assembly allowing big-box retailers to begin beer, wine and liquor sales. Individual jurisdictions will have local license authority, however.

•The BJ’s on the Water property will officially change hands in early 2021 with the new property owner changing the name for this summer before redevelopment of the property next fall.

•It will be another difficult pop-up rally in late September for police, but progress will be noted as crowds are noticeably lower than previous years.

•Without a grant received for the demolition of the dilapidated buildings at Heron Park, an entire year will go by without any major actions at the fledgling Berlin park. At least one council member will publicly propose the town should sell pieces of the property to help offset the annual $200,000 debt payment.

•The riverboat purchased by the county for the Town of Snow Hill will not begin operations in 2021 due to enhancements needed to the vessel.

•Similar to what Maryland did with its government loans, the federal government will move to automatically forgive PPP loans authorized earlier this year under $250,000.

•Toward the end of 2021, as he enters his final year in office, Gov. Larry Hogan will formalize his intentions to run for president in 2024.

•Berlin will merge its Ice Ice event with its traditional tree lighting and holiday arts night event in November.

•The 2020 Census findings will reveal Worcester County’s population now surpasses 60,000, up from 51,000 in the 2010 count.

•Though proposed at one point, Ocean City will not require masks on the Boardwalk as it did last summer.

•The Kansas City Chiefs will defeat the Green Bay Packers to win back-to-back Super Bowls.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.