Anthony Meras, proprietor of Star Confectionary (Papa Nick's) on East Main Street, outside the iconic luncheonette this morning, where outdoor tables have been placed on the sidewalk for the first time in the restaurant's 100-year history. Photo: Peter Blasl

Hair salons, barbershops, retail stores, offices and auto dealers can reopen today on Long Island and restaurants can begin outdoor table service as Phase Two of the New York Forward reopening plan goes into effect in the region.

Star Confectionary, for the first time in its 100-year history, has tables on the sidewalk outside the iconic luncheonette.

The tables had been in the basement for four decades, said Star Confectionary proprietor Anthony Meras said this morning.

“The tables are from my grandfather,” he said. “I can remember as a kid when they redid the store, my grandmother telling my father in Greek, keep the tables you never know. So he put them in the basement. Well, 40-something years later ‘you never know’ came and here we are,” Meras said.

“I’m excited, a little nervous but I’m excited,” he said. He’s nervous because “it’s different and I want our customers to be happy.”

Jim Liszanckie sets up tables and chairs outside Sunny’s Riverhead Diner & Grill on East Main Street this morning. Photo: Peter Blasl

Jim Liszanckie, who with his wife Sunny owns and operates Sunny’s Riverhead Diner and Grill on East Main Street, was busy setting up outdoor tables and chairs this morning.

Liszanckie said it’s great to be open again for more than takeout and delivery.

“It’s been rough,” he said. “I hope everything comes back.”

Restaurants are limited to outdoor dining until Phase Three, which could start as soon as two weeks from today — if Phase Two doesn’t result in a surge of new COVID infections and hospitalizations in the region.

Fred Marsland gets an overdue haircut this morning at Main Street Haircutters, where he was Tony Balzano’s first customer. Photo: Peter Blasl

Main Street Haircutters on West Main Street, a downtown Riverhead mainstay since 1960, opened up bright and early this morning, with brothers Tony and Andy Balzano at their stations — now separated by more than six feet.

Like all barbershops and hair salons during Phase Two, haircuts are by appointment only. Tony Balzano said appointments started booking up fast.

Fred Marsland was Tony Balzano’s first customer this morning. “It’s because I pay the big bucks,” Marsland joked.

LIsa Pickersgill, right, owner of Robert James Salon on East Main Street, and stylist Eva Malerba at the salon this morning. Photo: Peter Blasl

Up the block, Robert James Salon on East Main Street also opened this morning for the first time since all hair salons were shuttered by the governor in March.

The salon’s cofounder and partner, Raymond Pickersgill, died of COVID-19 on April 20. His daughter and business partner Lisa Pickersgill reflected this morning on how strange it will be to carry on the business without him.

Pickersgill, 71, the longtime president of the Riverhead Business Improvement District Management Association was one of the 1,988 Suffolk casualties of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus infection.

Joe Lito, an owner of Baccano Barbering on East Main Street, left, and barber Room Ortiz, opened for business this morning for the first time since March.
Photo: Peter Blasl

The state’s reopening plan aims to prevent a resurgence of the virus outbreak by implementing strict standards for all types of businesses as they reopen. The standards are of two types, mandatory and recommended best practices.

Mandatory Phase Two standards for each industry sector require limited occupancy. Workforce and customer presence cannot exceed 50% of the maximum occupancy for any premises under its existing certificate of occupancy.

They also require businesses to ensure physical distancing between individuals, “unless safety or core function of the work activity (such as a haircut) requires a shorter distance.”

People must wear face coverings any time they must be within six feet of other person. Tightly confined spaces — including stockrooms, elevators or areas behind cash registers — must be occupied by no more than one person at a time, unless everyone is wearing face coverings.

Sunny’s tested its outdoor dining setup yesterday. Photo: Denise Civiletti

Shared workstations must be cleaned and disinfected between users.

Offices are required to “reduce interpersonal contact and congregation” by methods such as adjusting workplace hours, staggering workforce hours, reducing on-site workforce to necessary staff, etc.

Retail stores are required to post social-distancing markers using tape or signs that denote 6 ft. of spacing in commonly used areas such as time clock stations, health screening stations, break rooms, cash registers and merchandise aisles.

All business owners/operators are required to sign industry-specific affirmations that they have read and understand their obligation to operate in accordance with the standards put out by the state.

They are also required to complete and submit an industry-specific “COVID-19 Reopening Safety Plan.”

The affirmation documents and safety plans are on the New York State Department of Health’s website.

‘We’re on a respirator,” said Bryan DeLuca, executive director of Atlantis Holdings, which operates the Long Island Aquarium on East Main Street, at a press conference June 9 advocating for the East End region to quickly move to Phase Four. Photo: Denise Civiletti

Under the governor’s executive orders, the following businesses remain closed:

  • Indoor on-premise restaurant and bar service;
  • Gyms, fitness centers, and exercise classes, except for remote or streaming services;
  • Movie theaters, except drive-ins;
  • Places of public amusement, whether indoors or outdoors, including but not limited to, locations with amusement rides, carnivals, amusement parks, water parks, aquariums, zoos, arcades, fairs, children’s play centers, funplexes, theme parks, bowling alleys, family and children’s attractions;
  • Large gathering/event venues, including but not limited to establishments that host concerts, conferences, or other in-person performances or presentations in front of an in-person audience;
  • Video lottery and casino gaming facilities; and
  • Malls where stores have interior mall entrances. (Stores with their own external entrances separate may resume all in-store retail activities in Phase Two, subject to the standards for retail store reopening.

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.