CLEVELAND — On March 23, 2020, at 11:59 p.m., Ohio's stay-at-home order went into effect. It was a day that changed the lives of millions of Ohioans.
"What we do now will slow this invader," Gov. Mike DeWine said at the time. Then-Ohio Health Director Dr. Amy Acton added, "Every one of us matters and every day matters, but today is the day that matters, and today is the day we batten down the hatches."
It was a year that altered the lives of the WKYC Studios family, as the majority of employees shifted to working from home. For meteorologist Matt Wintz, that meant juggling his children while forecasting the weather from his basement.
"I just packed up a couple small things like cords and pens [because] I thought I'd be gone for two weeks," Wintz remembered. "I think this has introduced me more as family man. This was all behind the scenes stuff I was dealing with and doing as part of my life and now it's more in front of the camera, and I hope people can relate better, especially other parents."
A look back to when DeWine first issued the order:
For Wintz and millions of Ohioans, virtual learning became a reality. For Ohio College Preparatory School Principal Ashley Green, virtual teaching and leading with four boys of her own, became her new routine.
"For me, running a school from my dining room table along with making sure my boys were still learning and still active and we could get outside was challenging, but it was deeply rewarding to spend that time with them at home," Green said."
For many, the stay-at-home order had an effect on their bottom line, including bartender Ryan Ross.
"It ended up being about two months," he said. "No work, quarantine, stay home, don't do anything. I always worked for my money, and here you are filing for unemployment. I've never sat around a date in my life."
Margo Hudson was affected, too, after she was laid off her from her job at Cleveland Hopkins Airport.
"Depression eventually set in," she admitted.
However, with a passion for volunteering, Hudson found the Bountiful Basement Hunger Center, where she serves her community.
"It's a self-fulfillment, knowing that I'm making a difference in this community," she said.
The pandemic has changed so much, but it's taught us so much, too - beautiful moments have come out of an ugly time. So while our calendars here at the station seem frozen in time, so many of us are looking forward to the days ahead, a time to be spent with our colleagues, loved ones, reunions and, yes, maybe a hug or two.
For all of us, it has been a year of uncertainty, sacrifice and much more.