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Long Island enters Phase Four of New York State’s phased reopening plan today.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the official announcement yesterday afternoon.

“The team of global public health experts advising New York State on its reopening strategy has thoroughly reviewed the data for Long Island and has cleared it to enter Phase 4 of reopening starting tomorrow, July 8,” Cuomo said in a press release.

While Phase Four is the final phase of reopening in the New York Forward reopening plan, entering Phase Four does not mean everything is cleared to open.

Under current state guidance, industries and activities that can resume in Phase Four are: higher education; low-risk outdoor arts and entertainment; low-risk indoor arts and entertainment; media production; professional sports competitions with no fans.

Phase Four businesses that can reopen as of today include the L.I. Aquarium, the Suffolk County Historical Society museum, Hallockville Museum Farm and outdoor agritourism and agricultural demonstrations.

Indoor occupancy for arts and entertainment venues is limited to 25% of maximum occupancy, including workforce and patrons. All employees and visitors over age 2 must wear face coverings and social distancing measures are required.

Colleges can also reopen, subject to restrictions.

Suffolk County Community College announced its fall reopening plan last week. It said 88% of its class sections will be offered remotely, with no need for enrolled students to visit any campus. Twelve percent will require some face-to-face campus experience, such as science labs or “hands-on” instruction, which may be required by accrediting bodies or N.Y. State Education Department, the college said in a press release.

Stony Brook University will hold all large lecture classes online. There will be a 45-person cap on all in-person classes. Small on-campus classes will meet in larger venues to allow for social distancing. Students will be required to wear face coverings to all on-campus classes. Residence halls will be open with a maximum of two people per room. No off-campus visitors or overnight guests will be allowed in dorms. Dining halls will be open also. More information here.

Businesses that remain closed

Despite entering Phase Four, many other types of businesses remain closed:

  • Gyms, fitness centers and exercise classes, CrossFit gyms and other forms of personal training.
  • Indoor theaters, including movie theaters and live production venues.
  • Casinos, bingo games, off-track betting parlors, amusement arcades and game rooms.
  • Bowling alleys, billiard parlors and pool halls.

“This pandemic is far from over,” Cuomo said, noting the surge in coronavirus infections around the country. Even though New York’s infection rate and hospitalizations currently remain low, residents must remain vigilant, the governor said.

“I encourage New Yorkers to continue practicing the basic behaviors — wearing masks, washing hands and social distancing — that have made an enormous difference in the state’s ability to fight the virus,” Cuomo said.

The governor urged local governments to do their part to enforce state guidelines “so we can keep COVID-19 at bay and continue pursuing the state’s incremental, data-driven reopening.”

New York Forward guidance for Phase 4 reopening can be found here.

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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.