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FAQ: Reopening rules for restaurants, nail and beauty salons

Customers and employees at LI nail salons will

Customers and employees at LI nail salons will be required to wear masks, like these women in a Pennsylvania salon, which also has plastic barriers.  Credit: AP/JACQUELINE DORMER

Long Islanders can eat inside a restaurant, have their nails done and get a massage for their aching muscles starting on Wednesday, though questions remain about how to do so safely in the coronavirus era.

Restaurants, bars, nail salons, spas and other personal care businesses in Phase 3 will open for the first time since being shut down in late March by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to slow the virus’ spread.

“This is a big deal for restaurants, some of whom haven’t found outdoor dining to be conducive,” said Mario Saccente, president of the Long Island chapter of the state Restaurant Association. “Everyone is taking the cleaning and disinfecting guidelines very seriously.”

The state guidelines are at and the restaurant association’s list of resources may be found at

Phase 3 includes thousands of businesses in Nassau and Suffolk counties, including more than 6,575 restaurants and other eating establishments with 87,300 employees, according to the most recent Census data.

Here are answers to common questions about resuming business activity.

Restaurants, bars, food service

Q: Do the guidelines for restaurants apply to food trucks, concession stands and other food service businesses?


Q: Can I put up a tent or awning over my outside tables to keep diners from getting wet when it rains?

Yes. The tent or awning must have at least two open sides to promote airflow.

Q: Are employees included in the occupancy limit of 50% or less on the restaurant’s indoor space?

Employees are not counted

Q: Can tables be used if they aren’t 6 feet apart in all directions?

If social distancing cannot be maintained, then physical barriers of at least 5 feet tall must be used to separate tables.

Q: When are employees and diners required to wear masks?

Employees must always wear employer-provided face coverings; diners may only take them off when seated at the table. The two groups should use different entrances and exits. Employees shouldn’t share masks and mustn’t be charged for them.

Q: How often do employees have to wash their hands?

Frequently, and those who wear gloves for activities other than food preparation should replace them often.

Q: How often should a restaurant be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected?

Cleaning should be ongoing and occur at least after each shift, daily or more frequently if needed.

Q: How many people can be seated at a table?

There can be a maximum of 10 people at a table and they don’t have to be from the same family.

Q: Should restaurants give diners buzzers to notify them that their order is ready for pickup or a table has become available?


Q: Can restaurants leave condiments on the table between diners?

Only if the containers are regularly disinfected; better to provide single-use packages.

Q: Can reusable menus be used?

Only if they are disinfected after each use.

Q: How should silverware be used?

Restaurants should use pre-packaged or pre-rolled silverware, and gloves and masks should be worn when preparing the silverware for use by diners.

Q: Should employees be screened for the coronavirus?

Employees must complete a questionnaire and have their temperature taken daily. This is optional for customers and delivery people.

Nail and tanning salons, tattoo parlors and other personal care

Q: Are employees included in the occupancy limit of 50% or less for the salon or spa?

Employees are counted; individuals must maintain a distance of 6 feet between each other unless they are performing a service that requires closer contact.

Q: Do employees have to wear masks if there is a barrier between them and the customer?

Yes, and if providing direct services, they should wear a face shield and safety goggles, and in some instances, gloves.

Q: What do I do about the waiting room or waiting area?

It must remain closed.

Q: Are facials, nose piercings and other services that require customers to remove their mask allowed?

Q: No

Q: How often should manicure and pedicure baths and bowls, tanning beds and booths, and workstations be disinfected?

After each use by a customer.

Q: Are saunas or steam rooms allowed?


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