Suffolk restaurant owners are heading to Hauppauge Monday for a “reopen the restaurants” rally that happens at 1 p.m. outside the H. Lee Dennison building.
“Every day the restaurants aren’t allowed to fully open, another 5 to 10 never well,” says John Sarno, an owner at Drift 82 and three Village Idiot Pub locations in Patchogue, Oakdale and Lake Grove.
While the governor recently announced restaurants could offer outdoor seating as of June 10, a full reopening isn’t supposed to happen until Phase 3 of the state’s coronavirus containment plan.
When that might be is yet to be determined, and restaurant owners are losing patience.
“We have been at the forefront, feeding the hospitals, other frontline workers and the sick in our local communities,” said Sarno. “We have been following the guidelines from the start and have made the necessary adjustments on the go. The time to reopen is now!”
Yesterday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the lowest number of hospitalizations and COVID-attributed deaths in recent months.
In New York City, which is entering Phase 1 on Monday, positive COVID tests per day have dropped from a high of 57 percent per day to 2 percent per day, according to the governor’s office.
Restaurants across lower New York have been shut down since mid-March, with only takeout, delivery and curbside pickup options allowed.
Mike McElwee, who co-owns two Local Burger Co. locations in Patchogue and Bay Shore, as well as Penny Pub and T.J. Finley’s, said restaurants in Bay Shore will be well represented at Monday’s rally.
“Bay Shore restaurants are happy to join with the Patchogue Restaurant Committee and the Suffolk County Restaurant and Tavern Association on this,” he said. “We are ready to safely open and serve patrons while following safe social distancing guidelines.”
The H. Lee Dennison building, which serves as the county’s executive headquarters, is located at 100 Veterans Memorial Highway.