Small businesses on Long Island await their turn to reopen

For the first time since mid-March the door is open at Madison's Niche - a lifestyle boutique in downtown Huntington.

Wednesday marked the beginning of phase one of reopening Long Island - what's included: construction, agriculture, manufacturing, and wholesale trade. While retail also falls under that category, stores are limited to curbside pickup only - leaving many business owners wondering why they can't reopen right now if proper safeguards are in place.

“Life has to go on, small business can't survive any longer being shut down,” said Karen McAvoy, owner of Madison’s Niche.

Julie Wernersbach, general manager of Book Revue hopes the new normal will be similar to the old one.

“It’s always important to support your local businesses but like never before we have to support of the community otherwise Huntington village won't be here,” she said.

And it's a bittersweet day for other businesses forced to wait their turn to open. John Vater, co-owner of Spa Adriana says they always took precautions.

“We're one of those industries that's already prepared,” he said. “It's part of our licensing.”

He hopes salons and spas will fall under phase two of the state's reopening plan which will also include finance, real estate, and insurance. Phase three is restaurants and food services and phase four - arts, entertainment, education, and recreation.

Officials say the day marks a step in the right direction especially since Long Island had the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases in the state.

“The last thing any of us wants to do is to slow down, backtrack on the progress we're making,” said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran.

Governor Cuomo suggested a two week period before reopening each phase in order to closely monitor cases. Local officials suggested hospitalization numbers stay under control it could happen sooner but they say safety is a priority especially when lives are on the line.


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