Reopening LI: Businesses, residents gear up for Phase 2 reopening Wednesday

LONG ISLAND (WABC) -- Restaurant owners and retailers across Long Island are counting the hours until they can resume outdoor table service and in-store shopping as the coronavirus pandemic wanes.

Nassau and Suffolk counties enter Phase 2 of reopening Wednesday, one day after the Mid-Hudson region began Phase 2. The rest of the state is already in Phase 2, except for New York City, which entered Phase 1 Monday.

Some communities are helping businesses maximize sidewalk space by closing lanes of traffic while making sure there's adequate room for emergency vehicles, and local governments are allowed to grant permits to restaurants so they can use parking space to expand their outdoor seating.

Law firms, real estate companies, commercial building management, and government offices will also be allowed to reopen, as will hair salons and barbershops.

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Jim Dolan has more on how Long Island is preparing to enter Phase 2 of reopening.

In West Hempstead, they're filling the town pool at Echo Park -- but they don't know yet when it will be filled with swimmers.

As for Little League, Hempstead Town Supervisor Don Clavin and the Town Board sent Governor Andrew Cuomo a letter requesting that ballfields be a part of the Phase 2 reopening.

"These kids are screaming to get out and do activity," Clavin said. "And we can do it in a responsible manner."

As for what else isn't part of Phase 2, indoor malls like Roosevelt Field remain shuttered. But Nassau County Executive Laura Curran has written Cuomo a letter about that too.

"Malls employ thousands and thousands," she said. "They pay millions in property taxes, and I'm concerned some of our malls are not going to make it."

Curran believes that just like with other retail stores re-opening, the malls, too, can take proper precautions. And in the town of Hempstead, parents and community leaders are becoming increasingly concerned that for everyone's well being, it's just time to play ball.

"They've got to get out," Baldwin Little League Director Tom Rielly said. "Their mental health is really deteriorating."

Not everything will be open or allowed yet, though, including:
--Indoor malls where you cannot enter the store from the outside
--Indoor on-premise restaurant and bar service
--Large gathering/event venues
--Gyms, fitness centers, and exercise classes, except for remote or streaming services
--Video lottery and casino gaming facilities
--Movie theaters, except drive-ins
--Places of public amusement, including amusement parks, water parks, aquariums, zoos, arcades, fairs, children's play centers, funplexes, theme parks, bowling alleys, family and children's attractions


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