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Lynbrook, East Rockaway businesses strained by coronavirus restrictions


Lynbrook Bagels owner Michael Clancy pondered the short- and long-term effects the coronavirus pandemic will have on his business. “This is my only source of income,” he said. “My business will never resume the way it was a month ago.”

When the virus struck New York two weeks ago, Clancy said, there was a decline in his business because people stopped eating out as often. Since Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered all bars and restaurants closed for everything but takeout service, many establishments in Lynbrook and East Rockaway have struggled to adapt. “I had an inkling that it would get worse,” Clancy said.

Last weekend, Cuomo mandated that all nail and hair salons, barbershops, tattoo parlors and other “non-essential” businesses close indefinitely.

David Yang, owner of Color Nail Salon and Spa in East Rockaway, said the outlook was grim. “No one will be working, and we can’t continue to pay them,” he said. “At this point, everything is uncertain.”

Clancy said he removed all chairs from his bagel shop the day before Cuomo prohibited sit-down dining. He also removed certain items from the menu, like hot sandwiches, which require time to make, in order to get people in and out of his shop as quickly as possible. He has takeout service, but doesn’t use services like Uber Eats, he said, because he can’t afford them.

“Business is currently down by 70 percent for us,” he said. “This will not be going away anytime soon.”

At Villa Maria pizzeria in East Rockaway, manager Pina Silva said the change to takeout has strained her business. “We will be hit hard in many ways, and it will take us a long time to recover,” she said. 

With business down, the eatery reduced hours for part- and full-time staff. “It’s upsetting that everyone has to go through this,” Silva said. “I just hope people stay safe.”

With event cancellations on the rise, Harry Levitt, owner of Mur-Lee’s Men’s and Boy’s Shop in Lynbrook, said his business would suffer, because people will return suits purchased for bar mitzvahs and communions. “Whatever they bought will not fit them by the time the rescheduled parties happen,” Levitt noted.

He said he would exchange sizes. Customers who bought suits from Italy may not get them, however, because Italy is prohibiting package shipments. “Nothing is made in the U.S. anymore,” Levitt said, “but I’m mostly worried about not getting things from Italy.”

He said he remained hopeful, however. “People won’t stay at home forever, panic will subside, and people will start to go out again,” Levitt said. “We’ve gone through 9/11, Hurricane Sandy and a recession. We have weathered these storms before. We will get through this.”