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Hempstead Town officials kick-off Phase 3 reopening in Bellmore

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June 24 marked the beginning of Phase 3, an important step in the road to recovery for Long Island's local economy from the Covid-19 shutdown. Indoor seating at restaurants is among the new guidelines allowed for the safe reopening of businesses in New York State, limited to 50 percent capacity.

On Wednesday, Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin and Councilman Christopher Carini joined with the owners of Matteo’s Restaurant, a mainstay of Bellmore’s beautiful downtown business district, to encourage business owners to take advantage of the Town of Hempstead’s first-on-Long Island outdoor dining initiative to assist them through the phased-in reopening process.

During Phase 2, which began two weeks ago, restaurants were able to start serving customers once again through outdoor dining. Thanks to the Town of Hempstead’s new outdoor dining initiative, which was established in early May, many of these restaurants were ready to open at the start of the Phase. The Town’s outdoor dining initiative, through the Building Department, allows for restaurants to apply for outdoor dining for free, and offers an expedited process that typically grants approval within days.

So far, within a month, 198 restaurants have applied for outdoor dining and 182 have already received permits.

“We wanted to take a leadership role in helping our restaurants jumpstart their businesses once again as they have endured through the shutdown,” Clavin said. “While many of our restaurants have adjusted by providing exceptional takeout and delivery service to customers, while continuing to give back to their communities, we felt this was a way to give back to them.”

The Outdoor Dining Initiative is a hallmark of the many steps taken by Town officials in the Covid-19 Road to Recovery. Other steps taken include the establishment of food banks to help feed families in need, grant assistance to town hospitals for Covid-19 response, a partnership with Nassau County to provide Personal Protective Equipment kits to small businesses as they reopen and the safe, coordinated reopening of beaches, pools and other recreation for the summer season. The Town of Hempstead has also hosted free Facebook Q & A sessions for the public focused on Covid-19.

“Reopening our economy is so critical, and we want to do what we can to make the transition as smooth as possible,” Carini added. “From introducing the Outdoor Dining Initiative to supporting the distribution of PPE kits to small businesses, the Supervisor and Town Board are working together to craft strategies to help boost our economy and our downtowns.”

In addition, the Town of Hempstead established its first online Building Department Service portal. With Town Hall temporarily closed to the public, residents can now apply for Building Permits from the comfort of their homes. By visiting hempsteadny.viewpointcloud.com, residents can access a variety of Building Department services, including the outdoor dining initiative.

Any questions about the Building Department services can be directed to tohbuildingquestions@tohmail.org or by calling 812-3600. Businesses with questions related to New York State’s Phases and the Governor’s executive orders and guidance on reopening, can visit forward.ny.gov.

“The Road to Recovery can seem daunting, but we want business owners to know that we at the Town of Hempstead are here for them,” Clavin said. “We continue to provide essential services while crafting strategies toward recovery. From establishing food banks, assisting healthcare facilities, the safe reopening of beaches and recreation options, while starting innovative initiatives like the outdoor dining program, we will continue to work hard to bring our township a sense of normalcy in the safest manner possible for all.”

Courtesy Town of Hempstead; compiled by Andrew Garcia.