Long Islanders are gearing up to celebrate holiday festivities, and for some, this year marks the first time since the start of the pandemic when in-person celebrations are possible.

After more than two years under restrictions, and as COVID-19 cases remain low, residents are ready to “move forward” and gather on Passover and Easter, — which fall on April 15 and April  17 — with their loved ones.

Baldwin resident Nivrose Duncan, while leaving Sunday Mass at St. Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre, said he will celebrate Easter this year with his immediate family.

“Right now, the way things are you still have to be very cautious about coming to church …, but it’s much better than it was a couple years ago,” Duncan said. “We try our best to try and get the close family together. Regarding extended family, that's another story.

Eileen O’Farrell Degnan, who was also leaving Mass at the church, was optimistic and said this was a new beginning after two years of dealing with the pandemic. 

“Everyone is renewed,” O’Farrell Degnan said. “It’s a new beginning … go on, forgive, forget and live your life. Enjoy it.” 

Passover seder foods

Passover seder foods Credit: Newsday/Tony Jerome

Nejjat Rehami, of West Hempstead, said life is finally getting back to normal and Passover at his house this year will include the entire family, unlike the last two.

“It was very hard to be just by myself with my wife, while my son and daughter [were] in a different place,” Rehami said in front of a kosher food market in West Hempstead. “It’s good to be all together.”

For David Klein, of West Hempstead, last year was the first time since the pandemic starterd that he had family over for Passover. This year will be much of the same and he said if the virus is under control, it shouldn't be “a big deal anymore.”

“It seems like the worst part is definitely behind us, everybody who’s been vaccinated and boosted, even if they’re spreading the disease, it’s no worse than or even less than a flu,” Klein said. 

There will be “no issue whatsoever” for West Hempstead resident Kenneth Glassman to get together with his family for Passover. He said he suffered from a severe case of COVID-19 and double pneumonia, but said he was ready to move on. This year’s mood for the holiday will be “upbeat,” he added. 

“On our side Passover, on the other side let them enjoy Easter with the family. Let them go to church,” Glassman said. “You got to get out there, enjoy the family and enjoy life.”

With Steve Langford

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