Reopen NY: Westchester County and the Mid-Hudson region enter Phase 2

NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York 's Mid-Hudson region officially entered Phase 2 of its reopening Tuesday, joining much of the state in further emerging from the coronavirus pandemic.

For those who live in Dutchess, Orange, Ulster, Sullivan, Putnam, Rockland and Westchester counties, Phase 2 means for the first time in three months, residents can walk into a retail store or dine outside at a restaurant.

Law firms, real estate companies, commercial building management, and government offices are also allowed to reopen, as are hair salons and barbershops, but only at 50 percent capacity and by appointment only. Nail salons, however, remain closed.

"It is the reopening of the society," Westchester County Executive George Latimer said. "We're very happy to see it in a number of different levels. People are going back to work, that there's economic activity again, that individuals when they purchase things, will be generating revenue to the county and other governments through sales tax revenue. All of which are very positive."

Local governments are also allowed to grant permits to restaurants so they can use parking space to expand their outdoor seating.

Bruce Mogavero has been waiting months for the simple pleasure of sitting down for a plate of eggs at the Bronxville Diner.

"I love it. This is the best. It's been too long," he said. "Personally, I would have hoped it would have happened a little bit faster, but safety is important. Hopefully we're over the hump now and starting to live our normal lives.

Employees lined up about 10 tables outside on Kraft Avenue, a fraction of the usual capacity. But owner Yiota Koriniotu said it's better than nothing. A federal small business loan also helped.

"It was a big help, because again, I was able to bring my people back," she said. "We are taking every single precaution here. We're cleaning everything. We washed the floors yesterday, and I just want to see some life. I just want to see some life here at the restaurant, on the street, people walking, people laughing again."

Not everything is 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

Long Island is expected to enter Phase 2 of reopening on Wednesday, while New York City only entered Phase 1 on Monday, June 8.

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