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Things finally are returning to normal, whatever that is

Things finally are returning to normal, whatever that is

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A&M gameday experience

Corps of Cadets members cheer before Texas A&M’s season-opening football game against Vanderbilt at Kyle Field in College Station on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020.

To be sung to the tune of It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas:

"It's beginning to look a little like normal, whatever normal is ... ."

What normal will be going forward still is not clear, but seemingly every day brings another step in that direction.

We've had some bumps along the way as we have started to open up in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, even though Americans continue to die at a ghastly rate and we don't yet have a vaccine -- although at least four potential vaccines are in the last phase of testing for efficacy and safety. Sadly, many Americans have said they won't get the vaccine for any number of reasons. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said his state will conduct its own tests on whatever vaccine develops -- because we can't trust the federal government to ensure safety.

Sigh.

Still, we soldier on. Several weeks ago, restaurants and bars opened up -- at least with limited seating -- but soon closed down again when patrons refused to follow the rules about wearing masks and social distancing. Many of the restaurants continue to offer drive-through or curbside service only, but we now can start eating in small groups inside our favorite restaurant. As the bars reopen -- or is it rereopen -- they must enforce the COVID-19 rules better. Size of the crowd should be limited and everyone must wear a mask when moving about the bar and have to be waited on by a bar employee. And, bars now officially have to make more money from serving food than from pouring alcohol.

Schools have reopened, at least for some students. In College Station and Bryan, some students are attending classes in person, while others are learning from home. Both districts are following guidelines to keep their students safe.

Saturday saw the return of one of our most cherished traditions: Aggie football. Boy, have we missed it. It seemed strange to see so many -- or any -- empty seats at the beautifully rebuilt Kyle Field. And it was different without the amazing halftime show by the Fightin' Texas Aggie Band -- or the traditional march-in to the stadium. Also odd: With the exception of the players and their coaches, the sidelines virtually were empty, except for a few media photographers who had to stay in their assigned place in the corners of the ends zone. If it keeps everyone healthy, we're all for it.

We know many fans missed the traditional tailgating before the game, but that may return later this season. A&M officials are being cautious in opening up the games -- as they should be -- but may make adjustments as the season progresses and we all gain experience in this new world.

And we know the hotels and restaurants appreciate whatever business they got this weekend.

As we continue to leave our homes and return to some semblance of normal, let's all be sure to follow the guidelines wisely established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The folks there know what they are doing. Wear a mask. That is the absolute best way to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Practice your social distancing, staying at least 6 feet away from others outside your immediate group.

We still have a long way to go before we can feel completely safe again, but we are getting there. It is up to each of us to take us the rest of the way.

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