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Struggle continues for Oceanside, Island Park shops in Phase One reopening

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It’s “business as unusual” for Oceanside and Island Park businesses and restaurants — that is, they are at limited capacity, said Sami Saatchi, owner of SVS Fine Jewelry in Oceanside.

Long Island entered Phase One reopening of its battered economy on May 27, paving the way for construction and wholesale trade companies to restart operations, along with retailers for curbside pickup only.

Saatchi opened the jewelry shop on Long Beach Road for curbside pickup that day, after being closed since March 20. “We’ve lost two months of revenue, and there will definitely be a significant financial loss,” he said. “You’re talking about a whole sixth of your year.”

Eager to get back, Saatchi said the shop has put significant effort into updating its website so customers can view products online and then pick them up at the store. Additionally, he has purchased sanitizing equipment and K-95 masks for all 16 employees, who are now working A and B shifts every other day, with only six employees in the store at a time.

The shop hopes to welcome customers in the store by appointment in Phase Two of reopening, when retailers will be permitted to make in-store sales, according to Nassau County’s phase-in guidelines.

“I’m looking forward to Phase Two, really,” said Jeff Grann, owner of Temptations for Her in Oceanside and Merrick.

The women’s clothing and accessories store closed the second week of March, before New York ordered all non-essential businesses to close, because “you could just see that people were not coming out,” Grann said. “The week before [New York’s order], traffic in the store was down 25 percent.”

Since then, Grann’s wife, Randi, has posted daily videos to Facebook and Instagram showcasing the shop’s merchandise and taking online orders. Then, the couple deliver or ship items to customers.

“We will probably do that a little longer until people feel comfortable coming in,” Grann said. “And that’s a big ‘if.’ How comfortable will people be coming out and going into a store and shopping?”

Until then, Phase One means that Grann is at the shop, offering curbside and in-store pickups, along with the deliveries and shipments to keep the store afloat. “It’s not easy, but we will prevail,” he said. “We’ve been around 35 years, and we’ll keep going.”

Dox in Island Park, a waterside bar and restaurant, opened for takeout on May 13. As a seasonal business, the eatery opened at its usual time this year. However, business is not what it could be without dine-in customers at its outdoor tables.

“It hurts because we’re a place where people love to be outside, sit and drink,” said owner Norah Kelleher. “People don’t think of us for pickup and delivery. We have picnic tables, but we can’t serve them there. They just wait there. It’s not the same.”

In Phase Three, restaurants will be able to open beyond takeout and delivery. There will be a roughly two-week period between each phase, but that is subject to change.

“Our customers only get us a few months out of the year,” Kelleher said. “I’m hopeful they’ll come back because it’s a limited time they can be with us.”

Descriptions of each reopening phase can be found at nassaucountyny.gov/reopen.

 

Scott Brinton contributed to this story.