LONG ISLAND, N.Y. — The Long Island region officially entered into Phase 2 of reopening Wednesday.
Phase 2 includes the opening of hair salons and barbershops and outdoor dining at 50% capacity. Office workers can also return to their desks at half capacity.
Real estate agents can show houses again, while vehicles can be sold and houses of worship can hold services at 25% capacity.
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran told PIX11 News Phase 1 “went swimmingly” and the region is ready to restart more of the economy, which was heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Malls are expected to remain closed under Phase 2, however Curran said she has asked Gov. Andrew Cuomo to consider opening them earlier since it counts as retail.
Malls, including Roosevelt Field in Garden City, have presented thorough guidelines that would be implemented to keep shoppers and employees safe. Protocols include frequent cleaning and having proper PPE.
When asked about a possible uptick in cases due to recent protests over George Floyd and police brutality, Curran has ramped up and urged anyone who feels symptomatic to get tested.
“The last thing we want to see is an uptick,” she said.
Beaches will remain at 50% capacity due to state orders.
There was a notable buzz inside and outside Pat’s Barber shop in Levittown. People lined up in masks 6 feet apart waiting for their first haircut in months.
Salons can open with reduced capacity, masks and other precautions.
Tables were places at least 6 feet apart and the staff was clad in masks and gloves. With about 20 tables occupied for lunch, owner Roy Bamberger was cautiously optimistic.
“It all depends on how people feel about coming out into the public,” he said.
It was a quieter scene inside Nardo Shoe and Clothing Shop in Great Neck. Lenny DePinto is trying to convince shopper it’s safe to come inside by providing free masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer.
Outside the shop on Middle Neck Road there was a slight uptick in foot traffic.
Norman Teitler and his daughter we’re going for a walk for the first time in three months. He recovered form COVID 19 and is now hoping his community can recover as well.
“It’s great that everything is re-opening, because as you walk the streets of Great Neck and you see a lot of empty stores,” Teitler notes. “Some of the stores closed currently, you don’t know if they can reopen, or survive once they do reopen.”
Professional office buildings and real estate can also operate with restrictions and limited capacity in phase two.