LI restaurants prepare to open outdoor dining spaces when region hits Phase 2
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that Long Island eateries can allow outdoor dining when the region moves into Phase 2.
Cuomo cited progress in New York's ongoing battle against COVID-19 in deciding to drop some restaurant restrictions. Long Island is on track to possibly move into the next phase next week.
The announcement comes days after Long Island officials called on Cuomo to give the green light to al fresco dining. Town of Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim says the outdoor dining process is critical to helping the town's 226 restaurants get up and running again.
"It's vitally important to our restaurants. Some of them been doing fairly well with takeout orders, but some haven't," he says. "This is going to be extremely helpful to getting their staff back to work and getting some revenue into their businesses."
Smithtown has launched an online system for restaurants to file for temporary outdoor accommodations. The one-page application is designed to help the eateries that are authorized by Cuomo to reopen, but lack the indoor space to accommodate social distancing.
The state's guidance for outdoor dining includes a number of safety requirements. Tables must be 6 feet apart, all staff must wear face coverings and customers must also cover their faces when they are not seated.