Long Island began the fourth and final phase of reopening on Wednesday despite some businesses not being permitted to open just yet.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in June that the initial weeks of phase four will not feature the reopening of gyms or movie theaters, but some of the county’s attractions such as aquariums and museums will open their doors to the public once again.
Cuomo announced on Wednesday that malls can open on Friday.
“I [would tell Cuomo] I am happy that you’re reassured that we can do this in a safe way,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said about the governor’s decision on Wednesday.
Museums, historical sites and aquariums may also resume at 25 percent capacity and zoos as well as botanical gardens operating at 35 percent capacity.
“It is important for us to open up because we want to be part of whatever the new normal is going to be,” Andrew Parton, president of the Cradle of Aviation Museum and Education Center, said. “We are a very large museum with a lot of open space, so social distancing is easier for us than some other places.”
“The Cradle and the whole team here has done a great job of coming up with common sense protocols to reopen safely,” Curran said on Wednesday.
Other industries that have been cleared to open throughout Nassau County on Wednesday include higher education, low-risk outdoor arts and entertainment at 35 percent capacity, low-risk indoor arts and entertainment at 25 percent capacity, and media production.
The number of people who can be at indoor religious gatherings will increase from 25 to 33 percent, and social gatherings of up to 50 people will be permitted, according to state guidelines.
Curran said film and movie production is a “huge generator for Nassau County” financially speaking.
Professional sports facilities will also be able to reopen, but no fans will be allowed to enter the stadiums.
“We’re excited about that, but we’re making progress because we’re acting smart, and we need to continue to act smart,” Cuomo said on Long Island’s reopening.
“[We are starting phase four] on time, no delay, those two weeks in between held fast, and that is thanks to our residents, businesses and common sense,” Curran said.
Community colleges, universities, graduate and professional schools, medical and technical schools are on the list of higher education facilities that are allowed to reopen, but must have plans and guidelines submitted and approved to the state before doing so.
According to state guidelines, each plan should feature how to reopen the campus, monitor the health conditions of students, faculty and staff, contain potential transmission of the virus, and shut down in-person operations on the campus if a wide spread of the virus occurred.
As far as New York schools are concerned, Cuomo said, “The federal government does not decide if NYS schools reopen, the state does. We will make that decision based on the science and the data. A decision will be announced in the first week of August.”
Of the 57,585 coronavirus tests that were conducted throughout the state on Tuesday, 692, or 1.2 percent were positive.
In Nassau County, a total of 42,088 had tested positive for the virus as of Wednesday. A total of 54 people were hospitalized with the virus, and six were in intensive care units in the county’s 11 hospitals. Wednesday marked the second consecutive day with no new coronavirus-related deaths in the county.