Nassau County Enters Phase 3: What Does It Mean for You?

It’s been three long months since Nassau County “paused” itself to limit community spread of the COVID-19 virus. Since that time, a phased reopening strategy has been in place calling for an increased number of “non-essential” businesses to reopen, provided that certain important public health metrics — including COVID-19 case counts, infection rates, and hospitalization rates — have been met.

Currently, Nassau County is entering Phase 3 (New York City is just entering Phase 2), a testament to the heroic actions of our health care workers, first responders, essential workers and ordinary citizens who’ve made enormous personal sacrifices to control COVID-19’s spread.  While Phase 3 doesn’t mean that life here is “back to normal,” the expanded range of permitted activities should be, we hope, sufficient to allow you and your family to better enjoy this Summer.

(Note: while all of the following activities are allowed under Phase 3, please use common sense if you decide to participate in them. Wear a mask, practice social distancing and monitor your own health and the health of your loved ones.)

Dining (Indoor and Outdoor)

Tired of cooking and washing the dishes? Want to support your hard-working local restaurateur? Curbside pickup at restaurants has been permitted in Nassau County since the advent of Phase 1, with outdoor dining allowed since the advent of Phase 2, which Nassau County entered on June 10th. Phase 3 permits indoor dining, provided that the restaurant owner limits capacity to 50 percent while adhering to a detailed set of Phase 3 safety guidelines, including the requirement that tables be set at least 6 feet apart.

Barbershops and Hair Salons

Let’s face it: people are starting to look a bit ragged on Zoom calls, and few of us have the special skills required to cut our own hair. Barbershops and hair salons have been allowed to reopen since the advent of Phase 2, provided that proprietors adhere to safety guidelines for these businesses. So, if you’re craving a buzzcut, a hair bob or a close shave, there’s nothing stopping you from achieving that goal.

Personal Care Businesses

Personal care businesses are not classified as “essential,” but there’s no doubt that many people regret them not being available. Non-hair related personal care businesses and services, including tattoo, massage, nail and cosmetology parlors, will reopen under Phase 3, provided that their proprietors implement the specific guidelines for these businesses.

Retail Establishments

“Essential” retail establishments, such as your local supermarket, have been allowed to operate since the pandemic began, with non-essential retail businesses (such as clothing stores) allowed to reopen under Phase 2, provided that State safety guidelines have been met. Malls, sadly, are not slated to re-open until Phase 4, because malls encourage large gatherings of people who might spread the virus.

Drive-In Movie Theaters

Outdoor drive-in movie theaters, once a common feature of the Long Island landscape, are making a big comeback due to COVID-19. Dozens of “pop-up” drive in theaters are sprouting up across Long Island, at Nickerson Beach, the Nassau Coliseum and many other locales. Chances are you haven’t been to a drive-in movie in years (the last drive-in theater on Long Island closed in 1998), making it a great way to (literally) drive down memory lane and share this unique experience with a new generation.

Maidenbaum Wants You Safe

We hope you have a great, fun Summer, while staying safe and COVID-free. Though it’s tempting to think that the pandemic is behind us, it’s still possible that a “second wave” is poised to disrupt us again, so be cautious whenever you go out.

Please practice safe social distancing, avoid large gatherings, wash your hands, wear a mask (find a fun one to lift your sprits), and abide by the sensible guidelines put out by the CDC and the New York State Department of Health. If we all do our part, we’ll protect ourselves, our neighbors, friends and family, and hopefully avoid a second “pause.”