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Local restaurants open for outdoor dining

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As coronavirus cases have declined, many restaurants in the Lynbrook community opened for outdoor dining earlier this month.

On June 10, Craft Kitchen and Tap house began serving customers for outdoor dining for the first time in months. 

“We are excited about reopening in this new way because it’s one step closer to normalcy,” manager Thomas Garrett said. “It was nice to see customers’ faces again and new faces.”

In the past three months, Garrett’s restaurant only served patrons through delivery and curbside pickup. Although customers are now able to dine outside, they cannot enter the establishment, unless they need to use the bathroom and the bar is open. When seated at the outdoor tables, customers can remove their masks to eat, however, when entering the building, they must wear masks. 

“So far things have been going good with outdoor dining,” Garrett said on the first day of reopening to customers. “We had a nice lunch crowd today. I just hope we don’t have a second outbreak of the virus. I’m keeping positive and I’m hoping I’ll be able to run my business normally again soon.” 

Dominic Natoli, the owner of Il Pozzo Wine Bar and Kitchen in Lynbrook, said that he has mixed feelings about opening with outdoor dining. His restaurant had been completely closed since March 16 because, he said, they were not prepared to serve customers through delivery and curbside pickup. On June 10, they opened for the first time in months for outdoor dining, and now they offer Uber Eats, Door Dash and GrubHub options for patrons. 

“It’s awkward because we are doing things differently than the way things used to be,” he said. “But we are also excited to get back into the groove of things and we hope in the near future we can have people inside the building.” 

Natoli said that all employees have to wear masks at all times and the customers must wear their masks if they leave their seats. However, they can remove the masks while they are eating. He has also made sure that employees are disinfecting tables and cleaning the chairs between uses. 

After being fully closed for nearly three months, Natoli said that his restaurant has suffered greatly. 

“My employees are getting less hours and we don’t even expect to make a profit,” he said. “We just want to provide services, so that when things go back to normal, we can start to make a profit. This virus will probably effect us for another year. So it might be about 18 months before we can start making a profit again.”

On June 12, Pearsall’s Station in Lynbrook opened for outdoor dining and required that customers wear masks only when standing inside the restaurant. The day before the opening, Brian Fern said that he was experiencing both positive and negative feelings about what’s next for his business as he prepared to open.

“It’s a double-edged sword because we are both excited and not excited,” he said. “We are spending money that we are not making to do these things, and I just hope in the near future, we can go back to the way things were before.”