It's finally here, the first day leading to the eventual "new norm." Today is the day restaurants and bars are allowed to reopen following specific instructions, the biggest being outdoor seating only. If you're on social media you've probably already begun seeing pictures of folks eating and drinking at a spot other than their own home. Sounds weird, doesn't it? Not all dining establishments have opted to open this weekend but it seems many have. It's also a great feeling when Rockford and the surrounding area are fully embracing a time many of us have been waiting for and, more importantly, a time many businesses NEED.

In Byron, Illinois (where you'll find 7 bars/restaurants within a stone throw from each other) the main drag has been reconfigured for this special occasion. Once you see their setup you'll agree that this appears to be the temporary "new norm" which I personally am excited about. (Note: I may be a little bias as I am a Byron resident.) The changes last night starting at the breakfast hotspot Sunrise where temporary "walls" were put up to section off a seating area. Today the big truck beds rolled up with concrete dividers that you would normally see in a construction zone. The final product though has residents excited to be able to leave their homes.

Wherever you plan on dining, please remember a few things.

  1. Follow social distancing instructions.
  2. Don't make comments about the staff's masks. They have to wear them and your joke probably isn't funny.
  3. Be kind and courteous to the staff and other customers.
  4. Expect things to be a little out of the norm like possibly slower serving time. Everyone is still adjusting.
  5. If you're done eating pay your bill and leave if you don't intend on spending any more money - like dessert or another drink.

Let's all enjoy this renewed freedom and be kind to one another.

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JB Love is ½ of  Q98.5's Lil Zim & JB In The Morning, weekday mornings from 5:00 a.m. to 10 a.m. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram.