“Southampton in the Streets,” a pilot program to help promote outdoor dining and retail following the economic shutdown caused by COVID-19, was held in the village on Saturday evening.
Main Street and Jobs Lane were closed to vehicular traffic for six hours in the evening to make room for expanded outdoor dining and foot traffic. Outdoor dining tables, which extended into the streets, were required to be spaced six feet apart, and village officials, who organized the evening, reminded businesses that masks were a must.
Images published by The Independent recapping the evening showed a crowd outside of 75 Main viewing a fire dancer’s performance. Some patrons were not complying with executive orders from the state and village to wear a mask and were not social distancing. While many people throughout the village wore masks, others did not.
“There was a problem with one restaurant and we have spoken to that proprietor,” said Southampton Village Mayor Jesse Warren. “We have also reached out to the governor’s office and asked for help enforcing the law.”
Barring the one issue, the feedback was generally positive and had the support from business owners and residents, he said. “Most people thought it went very well.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order in April that mandated any individual who is over age two and able to medically tolerate a face-covering shall be required to cover their nose and mouth with a mask or cloth face-covering when in a public place and unable to maintain, or when not maintaining, social distance.
“We have to remind ourselves that we’re still in a global crisis. This is not a time for a party. We simply want to make sure businesses can succeed and get through this year,” said the mayor.
Throughout the evening diners enjoyed outdoor dining, the Southampton Arts Center held live music by The Wednesdays, and the Plaza Cafe food truck served to-go food on the corner of Main Street and Jobs Lane, and a DJ performed on Main Street. Shops stayed open late and visitors walked down the center of the street to avoid crowding.
Many took to The Independent and Dan’s Papers Facebook pages to voice concern and frustration over those not wearing masks in the images.
“No social distancing seen, and maybe 1-2 masks. This virus is not going away anytime soon,” wrote Bonnie L. Wicks
“I thought masks were supposed to be worn in public.. no masks in any of these pics!!!” wrote Alanna Torres.
“We can pull that one restaurant’s ability to do outdoor seating,” Warren warned. “If this restaurant fails to comply this time around we will be reaching out to the SLA, Governor Cuomo, as well as tightening up the outdoor seating situation for that particular establishment.”
Today Cuomo urged President Donald Trump to sign an executive order asking everyone to wear a mask. “How we’re at this point as a nation and we still haven’t done the simple, easy, minimal step of saying you must wear a mask when you’re in public?” he said.
The mayor plans to continue “Southampton In The Streets” next weekend. “Hopefully this will become a tradition for years to come,” he said, with expanded outdoor dining lasting beyond COVID-19.