Reopen Long Island: Long Island enters Phase 1 of reopening, but not everything open

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Wednesday, May 27, 2020
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Kristin Thorne has the latest as Long Island reopens amid the coronavirus pandemic.

LONG ISLAND (WABC) -- Long Island moved into Phase 1 of reopening from the coronavirus pandemic Wednesday, which includes manufacturing, construction, agriculture, wholesale trade, and retail stores (for curbside pick-up only).

And while retail stores in downtown Huntington were allowed to open, many of them were still closed. Main streets like downtown Huntington survive on foot traffic and people being able to come into the stores to shop, which they can't do under phase one.

In-store shopping is not permitted until phase two.

RELATED: Everything to know about reopening Long Island

Karen McAvoy, the owner of clothing and home goods store Madison's Niche in Huntington, said she has mixed feelings about reopening Wednesday.

"It's a good day because there's light at the end of the tunnel, but at the same time, it's not enough. We need to be open," she said. "Small businesses can't survive anymore being shut down for as long as we've been shut down. It's been well over two months."

The owner of Little Switzerland Toys in Huntington said she desperately needs to make up for all the lost revenue.

"I hope our customers will support us," Lily Bergh said.

Julie Wernersbach, the general manager of Book Revue in Huntington, said she understands the phased re-opening of businesses.

"We do miss our customers a lot," she said. "We really miss the big bustling feeling of the book store, but you know we all have to be safe. We can't rush this."

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said he understands the urgency small businesses are feeling.

"We need to do more," Bellone said. "We need to move as quickly as we can, while keeping safety in mind."

One industry that resumed full speed ahead Wednesday on Long Island was construction.

Gregory Sforza, with Done Right Remodeling, said he had a few projects that were put on hold when the pandemic struck that he is now resuming.

"I appreciate what the healthcare workers did, first responders," he said. "And now it's our job to take action, get to work, get the economy rolling."

Sforza said he has been able to put 15 employees back to work under phase one.

The reopening also means construction can resume on the new arena at Belmont Park, the future home of the Islanders.

The LIRR also added service to coincide with Phase 1, including 105 additional cars so people can spread out. They're also doing extensive sanitizing.


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