Long Island Gears Up for Phase 3 on Wednesday

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone gave an update on the COVID-19 numbers Saturday.

On this first day of summer, officials are looking ahead a few days to the middle of the week, when Long Island is expected to move into Phase 3 of reopening after the COVID-19 shutdown.

“This week we are getting closer, and closer to taking that next step forward in reopening our economy, which is a very good thing, a very important thing,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said in his daily briefing Saturday. “We have to get the economy moving, we have to get more businesses open that are struggling.”

In the next phase, restaurants will again be able to seat diners inside and personal care businesses that offer services such as places massage therapy, spas, nail salons, tanning, waxing, and tattoo parlors may resume. Hair salons already reopened under Phase 2.

Both restaurants and personal care businesses will be limited to 50 percent occupancies and employees must wear face coverings when interacting with customers, unless a physical barrier is in place. Recommended practices include “by appointment only” policies to limit walk-in customers who may congregate.

Bellone said there is nothing in the numbers that would indicate anything other than continuing to move forward with the reopening process on the island.

The infection rate in Suffolk is at about one percent, he said. The state’s figures show Long Island’s infection rate at 1.10 on Friday, up a little from the .70 percent and .80 percent from Wednesday and Thursday. In Suffolk, there are a total of 40,908 people who have tested positive for the coronavirus, with an additional 44 in the last 24 hours. In Nassau County, 41,443 people have tested positive with an additional 56 in the last 24 hours.

Meanwhile, New York City is on track to enter Phase 2 of the reopening on Monday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Saturday. A total of 212,061 people in the city have tested positive, 391 in the last 24 hours. 

The governor announced Saturday — in a call with the media, one day after he ended his daily televised updates — that the Yankees and Mets baseball teams will hold delayed spring training in New York this year, as long as the Major League Baseball decides to resume its delayed season. With coronavirus infections spiking in other parts of the country, including in Florida and Arizona where the spring trainings mainly take place, the MLB closed training sites. 

The Yankees will be at Yankee Stadium, and the Mets over at Citi Field. The teams will work with the State of New York to ensure proper health and safety protocols, the governor said.

Bellone said the announcement was exciting, and that county officials are working with the Long Island Ducks on a plan for baseball to resume on the island. “We’ll be renewing our ask of the state to give approval of that plan. We want to see the Ducks out there on the field defending their Atlantic League championship.”

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