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More Long Islanders get back to business as Phase 3 of reopening begins

Long Island officially entered Phase 3 of the state’s ‘NY Forward’ reopening plan on Wednesday.

After two weeks of experimenting with outdoor dining, restaurants in Suffolk and Nassau can once again seat diners inside, but must reduce their maximum capacity by half and place tables at least six feet apart, according to state guidelines. Patrons must wear face coverings when they are not seated, while employees are still required to wear face coverings at all times.

Personal care services such as nail salons, tattoo artists, massage therapy businesses and tanning salons are also reopening at half capacity after being closed for more than three months. Employees and customers must both wear face coverings and maintain social distancing when possible — so you probably won’t be getting a tattoo from six feet away.

When does Phase 4 start on Long Island?

The state monitors several metrics to determine reopening, tracking data related to new infections, health care capacity, testing and contact tracing. If the trends continue downward in Nassau and Suffolk counties, then Long Island is on track to begin Phase 4 on Wednesday, July 8.

What businesses can reopen in Phase 4?

According to the state’s overview, higher education institutions such as colleges, medical schools and technical schools are allowed to reopen in Phase 4, along with media production businesses and certain indoor and outdoor arts and entertainment venues. That means Long Islanders will once again be able to visit museums, historical sites, aquariums and botanical gardens, but occupancy will be limited to 25 percent for indoor venues and 33 percent for outdoor activities, according to the state.

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