As our Lone Star state begins to open back up, we are cautiously trying to adjust to the “new norm” of everyday life (personalized face masks, frequent Zoom meetings, boosted personal hygiene practices, etc.). As of late, we must also rethink our social experiences. Now that well-known local and chain restaurants are reopening their doors for dine-in options, we need to carefully consider how we choose to once again venture into this world of celebrated birthday dinners, Sunday brunches, the nightlife scene and all that requires group gatherings.

Although we are grateful to see many of our favorite, local restaurateurs back in full swing, we remain extremely mindful of the need for continued compliance with best practices such as social distancing in public, wearing a face covering, and washing hands regularly.

For those who are choosing to once again partake in the resurfaced “social scene”, as many did during this past holiday weekend, for your safety and that of others, please make sure to note the rules and policies of each individual establishment. Local restaurant and bar owners, with their dedicated staffs, have been diligently working to thoroughly and continuously sanitize all that we may come in contact with while dining out, so that they could responsibly open their doors for business.

In adapting to the new dining out experience, as a result of eateries being in compliance with the CDC guidelines and our need to find the positive in what we’ve all been going through, we’ve noticed some serious benefits. We no longer have to be jam packed together with minimal space between us and other patrons, bathroom lines seem to no longer be an issue *bladders across the world sigh in relief*, and the absence of the smell that confirmed our tables had more than likely been cleaned with an overused, not so clean rag, is a welcomed perk. Oh, and let’s not forget the highly attentive service resulting from wait staff not being bombarded with tons of tables to attend to all at once.

However, just as our beloved, local restaurant employees, bar owners and restaurateurs are doing all they can to adjust to the here and now and make it possible for us to be able to enjoy the option to dine out, we must also do our part. Let’s do our utmost best to be patient and understanding with one another as we all keep learning to maneuver through this new norm. We are all still in this together. Be safe, stay kind, and practice patience.

Gaby Jones and Trisha Watts work hand-in-hand with the service industry. Jones is in charge of craft and imported beer for L&F Distributors-South Texas and Watts is a freelance writer specializing in the marketing of the service industry. Each week they will have a new adventure and provide an opinion on multiple locations throughout the Rio Grande Valley. They can be reached at dishin.it.956@gmail.com.