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Farmingdale restaurants forced to shut down outdoor dining areas after 'big misunderstanding'

Farmingdale restaurants set up chairs and tables outside Friday night after the mayor permitted it - causing some confusion between Nassau County and the village.

News 12 Staff

May 30, 2020, 12:51 PM

Updated 1,510 days ago

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Farmingdale restaurants set up chairs and tables outside Friday night after the mayor permitted it - causing some confusion between Nassau County and the village.
Village officials say it was a big misunderstanding. As News 12 has reported, Nassau County announced a pilot program which would close some streets to traffic, allowing tables and chairs to be set up instead.
The plan was for customers to pick up food from nearby restaurants, or have it delivered to those tables - so, in theory, they would have a place to eat before table service is officially allowed.
A permit would be needed to close the street, and that was expected to be ready sometime next week.
Farmingdale Mayor Ralph Ekstrand says he used the same logic and allowed tables to be set up on the sidewalk, thinking that would be fine since the sidewalk belongs to the village.
The county says the sidewalk is not a viable option because it's too narrow for people to socially distance from one another.
There was also some confusion about where the tables and chairs would come from. The mayor says he was under the impression they had to be provided by the village, but a county spokesperson says that's not true.
According to the fire marshal, all of the business owners did comply and no appearance tickets were issued.
Ekstrand says the restaurants will wait until table service is officially allowed by the state, which is expected to happen in Phase 3 of reopening.
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