NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday that outdoor dining will be permitted at restaurants during Phase 2 of reopening, not during Phase 3 as originally stated.
The announcement has many thrilled.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said businesses and county agencies are getting ready.
“The Suffolk County Health Department will provide approval immediately for spaces — outdoor spaces — that are approved at the local level,” Bellone said. “We’re looking at a week away from seeing outdoor dining open.”
Seven upstate regions have already entered Phase 2, which means, as of Thursday, restaurants there can reopen for outdoor dining.
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Long Island is scheduled to enter Phase 2 next Wednesday, so restaurant owners are gearing up.
“It gives us a fighting chance,” said Billy Miller, owner of Restoration Kitchen & Cocktails in Lindenhurst. “Our staff, our family are sitting home struggling to put food on the table for their children, or to pay rent or their mortgage.”
The restaurant industry is on the brink of collapse, so being allowed to open next week is being seen as a lifeline. Permits are being streamlined, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported.
“So that on Day 1 they will be able to hit the ground running and know what they can do to get tents up, to get chairs and tables in place,” Babylon Supervisor Richard Schaffer said.
Some elected officials across Long Island want to maximize the opportunity by fast tracking road closures in downtowns, opening up outdoor dining to parking lots and village streets.
“Like a street fair — food and places to sit and hang out, possibly looking at having a movie,” Lindenhurst Mayor Michael Lavorata said.
Many residents are all for outdoor dining, but some have their reservations.
“I think it would be awesome. I think it would bring a lot more people together,” Lindenhurst resident Michael Greico said.
“I think it would cause a problem for traffic, as well as fire department has to get through, emergency vehicles,” Michele Crosby said.
Others fear street dining could trigger the spread of coronavirus.
“Put the tables by the curb, not in the street,” Susan Crosby said.
Rules are in place. Tables will be spaced six feet apart, restaurant staff must wear face coverings, and customers must wear masks when not seated, McLogan reported.