PREDICTIONS for 2021 in Thurston County

Posted

Why is this night different from all other nights?

On all other nights, The JOLT reports to you about what already has happened.  It’s the news, not fiction. Or it’s feature stories, also not fiction, at least whenever we can help it.

So on this night, January 1, we’re offering you our best guesses about what we believe is likely to happen in the year 2021, the year we’ve all been waiting for. 

Here goes:

Q1 2021  

RESTAURANTS

Area restaurants are riding a roller coaster of sweeping, state-mandated safety regulations. Since lockdowns began last March, restaurants have been severely limited. Initially, they were restricted to carry-out only. Then limited indoor dining was allowed for certain counties with low COVID case counts.

Predictably, cases rose as lockdowns eased, leading to further, sweeping statewide safety regulation starting Nov. 15. Restaurants owners again closed off indoor dining, offering only carryout options and distanced outdoor seating. As of Jan. 1, Gov. Jay Inslee has extended the lockdown through Jan. 11.

Pretty much every restaurant still open is operating as if it were a ghost, what with no indoor seating and few places offering (still-legal) outdoor dining.

Prediction 1:  We predict take out business from local restaurants will increase 18 percent in Q1 over Q4 2020 as local people realize how important restaurants were to them before the pandemic and want to help ensure they’re around after the pandemic is over.

Prediction 2: Thurston County will see its first spec-built “ghost restaurant.” What’s that?  It’s a restaurant without a dining room, designed for delivery or take-out only, from scratch. You might say that places like Papa John’s Pizza and, especially, Papa Murphy’s (pizza) were already set up that way, and we’d agree.  Ghost restaurants typically have a wider range of menu items, can do special orders and actually cook the food in their ovens instead of inviting you to love your own at 425 degrees.

VACCINES

The healthcare bureaucrats will read a little history and figure out how to deliver as many vaccines as become available within hours, not weeks, of receiving them.

Prediction: By the end of Q1 we anticipate that 34,000 of the county’s 291,000 people will have received at least one dose of the new COVID-19 vaccines.

HOUSING

Prediction: At least two announcements of innovative ways to make housing more affordable will be announced for Tumwater, Lacey or Olympia.  Both will come from new and non-traditional participants in the housing world.

LOCAL POLITICS

Prediction 1:  After January 20, more people will return their attention to what’s happening on local boards and commissions.

Prediction 2: All three cities (O, L & T) will entertain updates to legacy city codes prohibiting work-at-home offices and small businesses.

LIBRARIES

Prediction:  Timberland Regional Library will introduce new social-distance-minded services, some of which will be in service by end of Q1.

HUMANITY

Prediction:  It will become normal again to make efforts to integrate refugee families and other immigrants into the United States, and local organizations that do this, e.g., CIELO, will flourish.

GEOLOGY

Prediction:  Thurston County will experience at least one earthquake of 2.5 magnitude.

Q2

SCHOOLS

Prediction:  All schools will resume in-person learning around April 5 after substantially all of the teachers, paraeducators and staff have received vaccinations and time for the vaccinations to become fully effective. 

NEW NEWS PRODUCTS

Prediction: The JOLT will introduce two new products designed to attract new local audiences. New News Products will focus on segments of our community who aren’t being served as well as we’d like to serve them.  We predict … something for people over 60 and … something for people under 18. 

Each of these guides offers dozens of choices and offers clues about which might be right for you in terms of size, location and menu. Early examples of “news products” include:

  • The JOLT’s Religion Guide listings are continually being further developed.  They’re for people who might be looking for a new place to contemplate or show gratitude or make friends or educate their kids. 
  • The JOLT’s Library Guide, well it’s for people who like to browse for books without necessarily having to buy anything, or who want to take their kids on a low-stress adventure.

SOCIAL JUSTICE

Prediction: Social justice talks will continue, expand into legislative action in both Tumwater and Lacey.

HOUSING:

Prediction:  An announcement of plans to convert at least one large commercial property to residential use will come during 2021, possibly in Q2. The last time this was done in Thurston County was the 1924-build second-generation Providence St. Peter Hospital to apartments, back in about 1972. 

VACCINES

Prediction:  We’ll see 55% of the eligible population vaccinated by June 30 – as well as an active campaign to get another 25% vaccinated so we can approach “herd immunity”.  In the meantime, people will continue to contract COVID-19. 

OUTDOORS

Prediction 1:  Brewery Park at Tumwater Falls will finally re-open, sometime by June 30. 

Prediction 2: It will close at dusk.

AIRPORTS, TRANSPORTATION

Prediction 1: A decision about plans to relieve congestion at SeaTac will come; whatever the decision is will affect Thurston County residents.

Prediction 2:  If any of the three sites that are in or touch Thurston County are selected, it will be the top story at least once a week for two months.  

SUMMER CAMP

Prediction:  Summer camps will open for families who certify that their children age 7 and up have received complete vaccinations.

GEOLOGY

Prediction:  Thurston County will experience at least one earthquake of 2.5 magnitude.

Q3

RESTAURANTS

Prediction:  Restaurants will be cleared to open indoor dining rooms at 50 percent capacity.

LIVE MUSIC

2020 was been a hard year for the music industry. Venues across the nation, Thurston County included, have remained silent and still for the better part of a year. But just like the reasons listed above, there is hope in sight. With COVID-19 cases dropping, vaccines being injected and more people being okay about using face coverings, new case counts will plummet by May.

Prediction: Outdoor performances will be announced in Q3 and scheduled for late Q3 and all Q3 summer.

GEOLOGY

Prediction:  Thurston County will experience at least one earthquake of 2.5 magnitude.

LIBRARIES

Prediction:  Little Libraries will increase in Lacey and Tumwater as people there wake up and discover that there are far fewer, per capita, than in Olympia. 

Q4

RESTAURANTS

Prediction:  Restaurants will be cleared to open again at full capacity.

NEWS COVERAGE

Prediction:  With increasing local support from businesses, institutions and the general public, The JOLT will add two full-time staff members by the end of Q2.  That will make it much easier to find out what’s going on around here, keep an eye on more public decision processes, and tell more of the stories that still aren’t being told.  

REAL ESTATE PRICES

Prediction 1: Danny’s friend, G., will still not buy a house or other property on which to live and tinker.  He’ll still be waiting for prices to come down a year from now. 

Prediction 2:  Prices won’t come down around O-L-T because demand is strong and bolstered by people from out of town who think that Thurston County prices are still good deals.

GEOLOGY

Prediction:  Thurston County will experience at least one earthquake of 2.5 magnitude.

What predictions do you have for 2021?  Do you think we’re off the mark on any of these? 

Click  ADD YOUR COMMENT, below.

Comments

3 comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment
lookoutmtn

Restaurants:

Local health department inspectors will figure out a way to come to your homes to inspect for restaurant violations with take-out.

Monday, January 4
Lookoutmtn

New news products:

Products will focus on segments of our community who aren’t being served as well as we’d like to serve them.  We predict … something for people over 60 and … something for people under 18 ?...........

AND people with disabilities esp. Developmental Disabilities.

Tuesday, January 5
Loomoutmtn

An announcement of plans to convert at least one large commercial property to residential use will come during 2021, possibly in Q2. 

AND finally: someone in the Legislature will lead the fight to convert hundreds of vacant residential buildings at state institutions near and far to mixed use housing for elders, people with disabilities, homeless, middle class, struggling families et al.

Tuesday, January 5