LI restaurants ready to serve outdoors with new restrictions
Outdoor dining is a big part of New York's phase 2 reopening plan, and many restaurants across Long Island are getting ready to serve - but with lots of new restrictions.
City Cellar in Westbury says it is blessed to have a large outdoor space.
Most restaurants might have to use a sidewalk or parking lots, but all outdoor dining tables will have to be 6 feet apart, with tables sanitized constantly.
Disposable menus will be used, along with staff members wearing masks and going through daily health checks.
Reservations will be required and dining time limits will be adhered to.
Owners say they're doing everything they can to make sure diners feel safe.
"Obviously now, because there is a new norm, we want to accommodate to the guests and we want them to have a piece of mind because at the end of the day, the hospitality industry is for the guests and for their experience. So the last thing we want the guests to feel when they are going out to dinner is to be worried that they are going to get sick or be exposed. We want them to enjoy their meal. Obviously, like they have always done at City Cellar," says Michael Abbatiello, owner of City Cellar.
Even with all of its outdoor space at City Cellar, the restaurant will only be serving less than half the number of tables it normally could.
The owner says he is confident they will be OK because they are pretty much they're booked solid for the next few days.
Over in Long Beach, Billy's Beach Cafe's regulars sat down at noon for some lunch. Inside, 130 people can sit down for a meal. But for now, the restaurant can only have three to five tables on the sidewalk.
"It's better than nothing," says Billy Romm. "We have been doing a nice to-go business, but we need our customers back."
Despite all of the new precautions, customers say they're just glad to be able to get out again.
"You know you can't stop living, and as long as you are aware of who you are with and where you are going, it's all good," says Sue Ferraro, from Valley Stream.