COVID-19 has not just had an impact on our health but also restaurants all across Michigan and around the country.

I thought it was cool that the city of Grand Rapids blocked off a couple sections of Monroe Center to allow restaurants to basically move into the street. This was also done at a variety of places around downtown.

Being outdoors is a big plus for safety during the pandemic and it allowed several downtown restaurants to keep their doors open but in a different way.

Tables have been outside all summer, allowing patrons to enjoy a nice meal and a drink with someone in their bubble while being served by someone wearing a mask. The tables were all set up socially distanced from one another. Even some of the restaurants got clever with the design of their area.

Now that winter is coming and the temperatures will fall sooner than later, I was kind of wondering what was going to happen with these restaurants that are in downtown Grand Rapids.

According MLive, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. is going to help with a program that will give up to $10,000 for restaurants to purchase heaters, tents and other items that will allow them to serve their customers outside during the colder months. It looks like the grant program will have $200,000 to work with.

The city calls these areas for restaurants "social zones". These started popping up on Monroe Center, Ionia Avenue NW and Bridge NW back in June. These zones kept many restaurants from closing and many people from losing their jobs.

These social zones are blocked off by concrete barriers so no crazies can drive down the street and do harm to anyone. They allow people to social distance, eat and drink in the fresh air which is much safer than dining indoors.

It is an ever-changing world during the pandemic and it is nice to see some changes that are helping businesses and people right here in our great city of Grand Rapids