BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — After the year we’ve had, it only feels right to celebrate the end of 2020, but, of course, 2021 doesn’t instantly bring an end to the pandemic.
“It’s more lonely. We aren’t around as many people but we’re getting by," said Kern County resident Josh Howells.
Kern County is facing the reality of ringing in the new year during a pandemic.
“With the virus and stuff going around, it's hard to spend the holidays with family. You’re not used to smaller gatherings, you know?" said Jose Santoval.
The holiday that typically means loud gatherings or crowded bars is unusually quiet this year due to COVID-19.
So, many people really won’t be celebrating tonight. They’ll be cooking a meal for one, trying to kill time or just binge-watching a show.
“It doesn’t feel fun this year. So many people are either just with their immediate family, or they're alone, or they’re with family and they’ve lost someone," said Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Kristi Price.
For those facing the holiday alone, Price said starting new traditions can help. Families can try virtual game nights or writing letters to each other, sharing what they’re grateful for this year.
“Going to a place of gratitude, even if it’s a small, small piece, is super helpful," she said.
And while it’s exciting to say goodbye to 2020, Price said we need to keep our expectations for 2021 in check.
“We don’t know what the future holds for us. Staying really present and saying, right now I am home with my family. I am healthy and safe. Right now, I hope, right? We can go from a place of expectations to just hope," said Price.
She urged people to reach out if they’re struggling, whether it be to friends and family or a professional.
If you are feeling lonely, the COVID-19 Latino Task Force has a hotline you can call for support.