Nassau County began the third phase of reopening businesses on June 24, as per County Executive Laura Curran and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and Baldwin businesses are adjusting accordingly.
During Long Island’s Phase 3, restaurants are permitted to open for inside, in-person dining, provided employees and patrons wear masks and six feet of social distancing is maintained between tables. Restaurants are only permitted to reopen indoors at 50 percent capacity, according to the governor’s New York Forward website. The maximum number of people per table is 10.
“Although we’re far from normal, we’re excited to enter Phase 3, and look forward to serving all of our loyal customers,” said Alex Tiburcio, the general manager of Novi, also known as New Old Venice Inn, in Baldwin. “Please bear with us as we work within [state] guidelines and are only able to operate at a limited capacity. We will continue to offer pickup as well as delivery. And from the bottom of our hearts, we are grateful to all of you for sticking with us.”
Tiburcio, who manages the family-style Italian restaurant that is a neighborhood favorite, said that dealing with the pandemic has been a struggle.
“The last few months were more difficult than we ever could have imagined,” he said. “We worked with a skeleton crew, faced obstacles at every turn and dealt with food shortages. We struggled often, but the continuous outpouring of support from our local community has been incredible, and it enabled us to persevere.”
He reminded patrons that they must wear masks to dine in, and that “the only time your mask can be removed is while [you’re] seated at your table.”
“It’s good to be home again,” said Rockville Centre resident Joe Dorilio, who dined at Novi with his family last Sunday for his birthday celebration. “We haven’t been here in a long time. We come here quite a bit, so it’s good to be back.”
Another local favorite, the Irish Pub, at 834 Merrick Road, offered both indoor and outdoor dining. Owner Shawn Sabel created a “parking lot paradise” in the space behind his business, with tables, seats, patio umbrellas, wind chimes, a colorful tapestry and two tropical plants that he named Kiki and Koko.
Sabel walked around the bar on Sunday, greeting patrons and showing off his “fun pants,” colorful, tropical-themed shorts. His butcher, Baldwin resident Denise Elardo, of Charlie’s Butchers in Oceanside, was there, too.
Spas and other personal care services, including nail salons and tattoo parlors, were also allowed to reopen. Spas are also only able to open at 50 percent capacity, with safety protocols. Waiting rooms are closed.
Prior to Phase 3, Cuomo insisted that businesses must keep up coronavirus safeguards. He issued an executive order giving local authorities the power to immediately shut down businesses that do not maintain safety protocols. Bars and restaurants that do not can lose their liquor licenses.
Scott Brinton contributed to this story.