A new year is upon us, and as the world ventures into 2021, the goals of lots of people are to leave 2020 in the rearview mirror. Although the year 2020 did not turn out like anyone thought it would be, area business leaders are looking at 2021 through a new light.

Although the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will still be felt for a little while, most organizations are looking ahead to the post pandemic time, when events that have become a part of everyone’s lives can fully return.

Tunkhannock Business Professional Association President Nancy Parlo said that even though everyone is still keeping a close eye on COVID, that the TBPA is still planning 2021 events.

“As of right now, we are still planning to have Founders’ Day in June, but the association is also going to meet to plan some smaller events as well,” Parlo said. “It’s unfortunate that we had to cancel so much of our 2020 events, but everyone else was in the same boat.”

Tunkhannock Kiwanis Club President Tom Tesluk echoed those statements. He said the Kiwanis Club is planning to have all of their events again this year, if the pandemic allows.

“We want to get back our Easter egg hunt, canoe race, Halloween parade, and especially getting our stand back at the Wyoming County Fair,” Tesluk said. “We’re just looking forward to a better year, and things opening back up again.”

One of the industries that got hit hardest by the pandemic restrictions was restaurants.

La Catalina Store and Eatery on East Tioga Street in Tunkhannock opened in October, and owner Carla Lopez is looking forward to a better year, a year where she doesn't have to worry about restrictions.

“The people have supported us great, and we couldn’t be happier,” Lopez said. “The restrictions hurt us a lot, but we think that 2021 is going to be a really good year for us.”

Lopez said that she and her husband Macario Lopez have set some new goals, including making improvements to inside the restaurant.

“We want to expand our menu a little bit, but our biggest idea is to add an outdoor dining area so our customers can have more room,” Lopez said. “Having to tell customers that they can’t eat inside has been very hard for us, and we want to be able to fix that.”

One of Tunkhannock’s most famous landmarks, the Dietrich Theater, will be celebrating it's 20th anniversary of reopening. Although it was closed for a lot of the year, the Dietrich is looking to celebrate it's big anniversary with a bang.

“The theater is going to be offering lots of film festivals and classes as part of the 20th anniversary celebration,” theater executive director Erica Rogler said. “We typically provide movies, classes and events to over 70,000 people. We are hoping to see that number again in the new year.”

Although the Dietrich’s screens have been dark for a lot of the year, Rogler still said that there is a lot to be thankful for heading into 2021.

“Through our virtual events we were able to give people we might not have been able to reach before that small town Dietrich Theater experience,” Rogler said. “I thought that was a very cool thing to see.”

Business owners would like to continue seeing in 2021 is the continued campaigns to shop local and support small businesses.

“I have seen so many posts online of people trying to support each other,” Parlo said. “And I hope that even when COVID is over, people will continue to do that by going to area shops and restaurants.”

They are also hoping that 2021 is the return of seeing old friends and having fun.

“The kids missed out on a lot of stuff with schools being closed and events being canceled,” Tesluk said. “Next year, we’re looking forward to bringing fun back.”

“Hopefully 2021 is a year that we’re all going to be celebrating, and I think that it will be,” Rogler said. “The community is so strong, and it’s going to be stronger than ever this year.”

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