By Brian Harmon

Outdoor dining at restaurants across Long Island is likely just a week away from happening now that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has moved it from phase 3 to phase 2 of the reopening plan from the coronavirus shutdown.

Long Island is expected to enter phase 2 of the reopening initiative on June 10.

Sayville’s and Patchogue’s chambers of commerce, along with officials representing other Suffolk County downtown areas, have been working on obtaining special permits to temporarily close Main Streets on selected days to pave the way for outdoor dining. Tables and chairs would be positioned at least six feet apart to help prevent spreading the virus.

The governor said today that starting tomorrow, outdoor dining will be permitted in New York regions that have entered phase 2 of reopening.

After calling last week for the reopening of all Long Island businesses and allow small retail businesses to fully open immediately, putting in place the same rules that large, big-box retailers and other businesses have been operating under, while enforcing social distancing, mask requirements and regular sanitizing of high-touch surfaces, on Tuesday, Brookhaven officials announced that the town is accepting applications for COVID-19 Social Distancing Accommodations to assist businesses and houses of worship to expand to outdoor seating and sales. 

The permits, which are being fast-tracked by the town and will have fees waived, will allow local businesses to immediately open as Long Island enters Phase II of reopening from the NY-PAUSE. All permits for the temporary expansion of these businesses expire on Nov.  1.

The types of businesses eligible to apply for these permits include:

  • Restaurants
  • Retail sales establishments
  • Personal service shops
  • Places of worship
  • Health clubs
  • Delicatessens
  • Assembly and social recreation halls
  • Offices
  • Movie theatres
  • Non-degree-granting instruction/program except those associated with manufacturing or driver training
  • Tasting rooms as an accessory to a permitted principal farm brewery, cidery, distillery, or winery use
  • Large commercial retailer, except those deemed essential business

“Shortly after the NY-PAUSE was instituted by Governor Cuomo, the Town formed the Brookhaven Recovery Task Force to assist our local businesses restart our local economy,” Supervisor Ed Romaine said in a news release. “Through their work, we have implemented this strategy to allow businesses to expand their operations beyond the confines of their four walls so that they can maintain distancing and keep their customers and employees safe without drastically reducing their operation.”

The application is available at www.BrookhavenNY.gov/RestartBrookhaven. For more information, call the Town of Brookhaven Planning Division at 631-451-6400.

New York state mandates that outdoor tables must be spaced six feet apart, all staff must wear face coverings and customers must also wear face coverings when not seated.

“COVID-19 is still a real threat and we’re still battling it…,” Cuomo said. “But thanks to the people of New York and the nurses, doctors and essential workers, today we have the lowest number of hospitalizations ever and we have the lowest death toll ever.

Carl Corry contributed to this story