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Baldwin restaurants embraced outdoor dining for Phase Two

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“We’re happy to be able to support one of our local favorites again,” said Maureen Schultz, who dined with Erin Schultz at Kitty O’Hara’s on June 19. The Baldwin residents said Kitty O’Hara’s is a place they used to frequent, and that they were happy to support the business again.

The restaurant, at 845 Merrick Road in Baldwin, was among the establishments that began offering outdoor dining as part of the second phase of restarting Long Island’s economy amid the coronavirus pandemic, as per Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“This is actually the first night that my husband and I have been out, so for us, it’s great,” said Baldwin native Josie Haas alongside friends and family at Kitty O’Hara’s.

For local favorite Sonny’s Canal House, located at 1 Jefferson Place, the hardships they faced during the pandemic closure were nothing new. When Hurricanes Irene and Sandy ravaged the South Shore, Sonny’s closed for a long time to recover. And the history is in the restaurant’s bones — the outdoor deck is made of salvaged wood from the damaged Long Beach boardwalk.

“Sonny’s has been the community staple of Baldwin for over 100 years,” said Manager Gareth Moore. “Under the current ownership, we’ve been through hurricanes and we’ve been there for the community while they’ve been there for us. So the pandemic, to Sonny’s, is more about taking care of our loyal staff and customers in the time when they needed us instead of the other way around.”

The staff has been professionally disinfecting surfaces and wearing masks. During the pandemic closure, Sonny’s offered delivery and to-go services and are now welcoming patrons to dine on their waterfront deck. Sonny’s also features dock space if any patrons decide to pull up on their boat.

And beginning June 24, restaurants were permitted by Cuomo to open up indoor dining areas as long as capacity is limited to 50 percent and social distancing guidelines are followed.