With Long Island entering Phase 3 of reopening, businesses are looking to bounce back and recover from the shutdown. Restaurant owners are hoping to take advantage of the addition of indoor dining during the summer months. Here’s how owners reacted to the first week of Phase 3.
“It has been going really smooth really, better than I expected,” said Indu Kaur, director of operations of The Meadow Club in Port Jefferson Station.
At the family’s newest restaurant, SaGhar, on East Broadway in Port Jeff, the rooftop floor and patio has been very busy. Kaur said they plan on accommodating patrons who want indoor seating in the front room of the restaurant that is facing the water. The Curry Club, which the family also runs in Setauket, currently offers outdoor seating at its patio and will have limited indoor seating.
“We will keep them six feet apart, there will be different entrances and exits for outdoor and indoor seating,” Kaur said. “For outdoor seating you will go down different staircases when you enter and leave. Also, we’ve placed hand sanitizers throughout the building.”
Kaur said they have gotten good feedback from customers on the outdoor dining layout at SaGhar.
“They’ve told us they like the overall ambiance, the decoration of space and are enjoying the outdoor entertainment we are providing,” she said. “Business has started to come back.”
With the start of summer and the upcoming Fourth of July weekend, Kaur said they will look to possibly increase tables with the influx of people venturing into the village. In addition, they are in the process of training 20 new employees to add to the staff they already have.
“We will try to accommodate walk-in customers as much as possible, but we advise to make a reservation,” she said. “We want to make sure everyone is safe and feels comfortable.”
Charlie Lefkowitz, president of the Three Village Chamber of Commerce, said business owners in the area are “cautiously optimistic” about the current and next stages of reopening. They’re hoping that they can return to normal business operations soon.
“There has been a lot of burden put on these businesses; restaurants and retail stores have had to contend with reduced volume of sales, capacity and selling space,” Lefkowitz said.
The chamber president added that while take-out orders helped bring in funds for restaurants, outdoor/indoor dining options will allow for these establishments to bounce back. He added that the chamber will continue to assist businesses in any way it can and help them navigate and understand Phase 4.
“They are excited for the summer months and are looking forward to the business it could bring,” he said.
Lefkowitz said he thinks post-COVID we will see outdoor seating and retail space during the spring and summer time.
“I think it’s something every municipality on Long Island should consider, from what we’ve heard if given the choice, people have preferred outdoor seating,” he said.
Tommy Marzano, co-owner of Faradays in Smithtown, said customers have been apprehensive about eating indoors with the majority of them preferring the restaurant’s outdoor seating.
“They prefer being outside — some of them don’t want nothing to do with being indoors even if everyone is six feet apart,” he said.
Marazano is hopeful that customers will eventually become more comfortable eating indoors again, though he acknowledged it could be a problem in the fall/winters months if COVID is still around and outdoor dining is not an option. He said takeout and delivery options could come back into play for restaurants.
Nonetheless, the feedback from customers has been positive, many raving about the restaurant’s garden and patio area.
“They are happy to have some bit of normalcy and be able to have a dining experience again,” he said. “We’ve had people tell us that this was the first place they wanted to go eat out, it means a lot that the community wants us to succeed.”
Sports Leagues/Recreational Sports for Phase 3
Beginning July 6, certain youth and recreation sports will be allowed to restart on Long Island.
Baseball, softball, gymnastics, field hockey, cross-country, soccer, noncontact lacrosse, doubles tennis, rafting, paintball, water polo and swimming will be allowed to begin games and competitions.
Here is a list of youth sports leagues and facilities on the North Shore that will restart during July:
• The Town of Brookhaven Baseball is tentatively set to begin its summer season on July 13. the 2020 Varsity Wood Bat Tournament in Brookhaven will run July 8-12.
• The Town of Brookhaven Fastpitch Softball League will commence its summer season in July.
• The Three Village Youth Baseball and Softball League will start its season July 8.
• North Shore Little League will not have a summer season, but its fall season will begin Aug. 15 and continue through the middle of October.
• The Town of Brookhaven Adult Softball Slowpitch League will open beginning Sun July 12 and play through October. There will be no separate fall ball season.
• St. James/Smithtown Little League will begin practicing July 6 and a soft opening day will be held July 11. The baseball/softball season will run July 13-29.
• Huntington Tri-Village Little League will resume games July 25 with the season ending in late October
• Brookhaven Youth Soccer League will begin its season July 18 and last until Aug. 22.
• Port Jefferson Country Club at Harbor Hills tennis courts are open to play.
• The Town of Brookhaven’s pickleball/tennis courts located at 286 Hawkins Road, Centereach, are open. At this time, the courts will only be opened to Brookhaven residents.
• Huntington Town tennis courts are open to residents and the public.
• The Suffolk County Junior Tennis League in Smithtown will begin summer matches from July 13 to Aug. 20.