The Miller Ave. street closure in 2021.

The COVID-19 crisis has been utterly relentless, with seemingly every glint of sunshine followed by the emergence of a new variant and requisite measures to limit virus transmission. But as we navigate the incredibly transmissible Omicron variant, we here at Enjoy Mill Valley like to focus on the positive as much as possible, as you likely saw in our mostly rosy Year in Review.

While the virus’s toll cannot be overstated – it “has stolen over 800,000 American lives, and millions globally. Efforts to thwart it have swept away livelihoods, altered childhoods, and left lasting emotional tolls,” according to the New York Times. “But all along, in the valley of the shadow of the virus, there has been remarkable resilience. It can be seen in the lightning-fast creation of vaccines that have largely defanged Covid-19, and in recent findings that the methods used now may show promise in the fight against H.I.V. and AIDS.”

“It is in every pivot made by a canny entrepreneur that saved a business, and each government agency that pushed innovative change during chaotic times,” the Times continued.

Mill Valley examples of creativity and innovation amidst crisis abound over the past nearly three years of the pandemic, from how the community continued to embrace the outdoors for al fresco everything, including street closures that infused the downtown with vitality, leaders calling for ‘bureaucratic hurdles to evaporate’ to support outdoor dining and other al fresco business uses, as well as a business case was made for car-free streets and turning some parking spots into shared spaces for parklets. At the state level, Gov. Newsom signed a trio of bills designed to expand options for businesses.

We also saw businesses seize an opportunity to grow by expanding into new categories, as The Store’s owners opened the beach-centric The Local and Carolina debuting the Fez men’s clothing shop.

We also saw Mill Valley’s profile rise among San Francisco-centric restaurant owners as Financial District spots went dark with the vast majority of tech firms allowing just about everyone to work remotely. For instance, Michelin-starred Brandon Jew’s Mamahuhu is planning to open in the former Beerworks space and MIXT is set to open its doors in the former Gira Polli space in the coming months.

“The experience of the pandemic has shown we are more resilient than conventional wisdom would suggest,” George A. Bonanno, a professor of clinical psychology at Columbia University Teachers College and author of “The End of Trauma,” a book about the psychology of human resilience,” told the Times. “I see time and time again that people are resilient. The pandemic has shown this in spades.”

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