OYSTER BAY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Long Island restaurant owners are pushing to reopen their outdoor spaces in order to allow for their customers to return.
Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino was part of a meeting of village mayors and elected officials Monday demanding that Gov. Andrew Cuomo open outdoor dinning for restaurants in suburban downtowns, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported.
Local business owners have been struggling in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, and ones like Massapequa Park restaurant owner Peter Mangouranes say his wait staff, chefs and assistants can no longer hang on.
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“It’s all over the place,” said Mangouranes. “We need some type of certainty. Something to look forward to.”
Mangouranes says that his business is down about 70% this year and that he and his staff can’t wait for Phase 2 or Phase 3 to reopen.
In attempting to find a way for these businesses to reopen, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran urged villages and towns to apply for street dining permits. The chairs and tables would then be provided by municipalities rather than restaurants.
Hempstead Town Supervisor Donald Clavin says that this type of action should send a message to the state’s government.
“This should send a message. No more red tape,” said Clavin. “Red tape happened Friday night. To think the county initiates a plan, the fire marshal shuts it down.”
Ralph Ekstrand, the Farmingdale village mayor agrees with those calling for outdoor dining to be made available saying “the easiest fix is to make outdoor dining Phase Two.”
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There are some bar and restaurant owners in the area calling for local leaders to get on buses to Albany with their demands. They believe it is more effective than rallying on the streets. Either way, it seems clear that something needs to be done soon to ease the burden on small businesses.
Eric Alexander, with LI Main Street Alliance says the effects of the shutdown have been devastating.
“Now in our third month, the policies that have shut down our small businesses are devastating,” said Alexander. “We need some way to get them back to work.”
Gov. Cuomo has said that outdoor dining is considered a non-essential gathering which is currently not allowed under the state’s reopening plans. That includes dining at village-owned tables on village property, dashing the hopes of those looking for a workaround.