Long Island officially entered the third reopening phase on Wednesday as the state continues to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
The third phase, as outlined by state officials, includes reinstating indoor dining (at 50 percent capacity), and personal care businesses such as nail salons, spas and tanning salons. Some “low risk” youth sports can begin on July 6 throughout the state, officials said.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on June 15 that more people would be allowed to gather in phase three.
“As more regions look to enter phase three across the state and our numbers continue to go down, we’re going to modify the guidelines to allow gatherings up to 25 people, which is up from 10 people,” Cuomo said. “The rules and regulations of Phase Three are very clear and they have been working. Everyone has a role to play as we’re reopening.”
As of Tuesday, the mid-Hudson region was the eighth area throughout New York to enter the third phase of reopening, leaving only New York City and Long Island to remain in phase two.
Outdoor dining was permitted by Cuomo in phase two, something that, quite literally, was a breath of fresh air to Nassau County restaurants and their customers. Village of Roslyn Mayor John Durkin, who owns Trattoria Diane and Diane’s Bakery Cafe on Bryant Avenue, said the outdoor dining played a crucial role in rejuvenating business.
“I think we’ve done a pretty nice job with [outdoor dining] so far,” Durkin said. “We made some beautiful gardens on our property for people to dine in, and they seem to really appreciate it. We get thanks from so many customers.”
Durkin said he did not have to apply for outdoor dining permits with the town or county since the gardens are on his property, but assured that both are following health and safety protocol from the state and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Durkin said he has been pleased with the results so far and looks forward to slowly transitioning into indoor dining as well.
“The weather has held out, and I think we’re all getting pretty lucky here,” he said. “Right now, we’re maintaining the inside of the [eateries], repainting, cleaning up, getting everything in order. We won’t start indoor dining right away, but we will ease into it once everything inside is ready.”
Other industries that reopened their doors are barbershops and salons, after being closed for nearly three months. One representative from Roman’s Barbershop in Westbury said it has followed all necessary guidelines to keep customers’ minds at ease.
“People have nothing to worry about when they come to our shop,” the representative said. “We are taking all precautions and making sure everyone is coming in with the best safety available that relaxes their state of mind.”
The representative said a team comes in every week to clean and sanitize the shop, stations and barber chairs are more than six feet from each other, and tools are thoroughly cleaned after every client.
Cuomo touted the success of New York’s adherence to the state-mandated health protocols, which resulted in the state being one of three in the nation on track to contain the coronavirus.
“We went from one of the highest infection rates to one of the lowest and we did it by making decisions based on the science, the data and the facts – not on politics,” Cuomo said. “New York is finally coming back and I can’t stress enough how important it is that we don’t blow this incredible progress now. To all New Yorkers – wear a mask, get tested, socially distance, wash your hands and be smart.”
If no spikes in the virus are reported in the coming weeks, Long Island is on track to enter the fourth and final reopening phase on July 8. This phase includes reopening the arts, entertainment and recreation, along with the schools that will be permitted to reopen.
Cuomo said even when areas move into the fourth phase of reopening, no school will reopen for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year.
Outdoor school graduations of up to 150 people with social distancing protocols in effect are allowed beginning on Friday, and summer day camps can open on Monday, according to Cuomo.
Rules for religious gatherings will increase from 25 percent capacity, as they are in phase three, to 33 percent in phase four, Cuomo said. The number of people allowed for a social gathering will increase from 25 to 50 in phase four, he said.