Susan Sterber of Farmingdale paints amongst the flowers at Planting...

Susan Sterber of Farmingdale paints amongst the flowers at Planting Fields Arboretum in Brookville, Tuesday, June 2, 2020. Credit: Danielle Silverman

Newsday is providing all readers with access to this breaking news blog on important developments about the coronavirus and our community.

What's happening:

Tuesday afternoon updates

MTA returning to full service for trains, buses in NYC

The Metropolitan Transportation authority that oversees train and bus operations in downstate New York is planning to ramp up service as New York City enters its first phase of reopening on Monday.

In a letter to city officials on Tuesday, MTA Chairman Patrick Foye said “subways and buses will return to full, regular service by day one of Phase 1” of the reopening.

The MTA has been operating on what it has called an “Essential Service” reduced plan since late March. There was no word Tuesday on when the LIRR, which has been running at about 70% of its usual weekday schedule, would return to full service.

Despite the return of regular daytime service, Foye, in an interview with WCBS 880 radio, said that the overnight closures of the subway system for intensified cleaning and disinfecting of trains and stations “will continue as long as the pandemic continues.”

Foye said that, beginning Monday, the authority will deploy police and other personnel as “platform controllers.” They will also provide hand sanitizer and face masks to some riders.

“The most important thing our customers can do is [wear] masks, masks, masks,” said Foye, adding that police will help enforce the agency’s requirement that riders cover their faces, but “no one is going to be dragged off. No one is going to be arrested.” — ALFONSO A. CASTILLO

Farmingdale mayor steps back on outdoor dining

Farmingdale has backed off looking for loopholes to allow Main Street restaurants to serve food outdoors before Phase Three of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s reopening plan. Mayor Ralph Ekstrand said Tuesday the village is applying to Nassau County for permission to close Main Street for outdoor dining when it is permitted again.

“We’re looking to do what’s allowed,” Ekstrand said. Ekstrand is among a group of elected Long Island officials asking the governor to include restaurants in Phase Two of the reopening. “We really believe that as the numbers [of COVID-19 cases] have gone down so favorably, the governor will allow outdoor dining,” he said.

 On Friday, a crowd of about 1,500 came to the village’s restaurants, which had set up tables on the sidewalks, prompting Nassau County fire marshals to issue verbal warnings to restaurant owners that outdoor dining was not permitted.

Last week, Nassau Executive Laura Curran announced the county would streamline the application process for street closures to benefit local businesses such as Farmingdale’s restaurants on Main Street. A spokeswoman for Curran said last week the county considered a municipality providing tables for curbside delivery to be allowed even before Phase Three. Ekstrand last week had considered sidewalk tables to be a kind of curbside delivery, but this week is instead preparing the village’s application to the county, which he said will be filed Friday.

A spokesman for Empire State Development Corp. said in an email that outdoor dining is not allowed in any region of New York State and that even if the municipality were providing tables, it would be encouraging gatherings of more than 10 people, which is not permitted. – TED PHILLIPS

Bellone: Up to $1.5B budget hole over 2 ½ years from pandemic

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said Tuesday that another crisis is emerging from the coronavirus pandemic: a budget hole that financial experts predict will be $1.1 billion to $1.5 billion in size over the next 2½ years.

Bellone cited a report assembled by a group of independent municipal and financial experts that reveals a “cataclysmic” picture.

“It’s clear: We have a long road ahead,” he said, adding that the federal government must step in with financial help.

The numbers were more encouraging regarding the county’s COVID-19 patients. A total of 247 were in Suffolk hospitals, six fewer than the previous day.

Bellone reported 275 more coronavirus cases, but he said that number includes more than 200 positive results from last month. “The new positives today are actually in line with what we’ve seen,” he said.

Three more people died, bringing the county’s death toll to 1,909.

A total of 39,980 people have tested positive for the virus since the crisis began, he said. – NEWSDAY STAFF

Watch Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone's live press briefing:

Curran: Number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Nassau falls below 300

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said Tuesday that the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the county has fallen to 298, what she called “a significant milestone.”

“It’s the first time [that number has] dipped below 300 since we started recording these numbers,” Curran said at her daily coronavirus briefing in Mineola.

Curran said that of 3,851 residents who were tested Monday, 93, or 2.4%, tested positive. The numbers of COVID-19 patients on ventilators and in intensive care units in the county's hospitals continue to fall, she said.

The 93 new cases bring the county’s total number of coronavirus cases to 40,572 since the crisis began in early March. Two new deaths were also reported Monday, she said.

Coronavirus antibody and viral testing continues at four community clinics in the county, Curran said: in Hempstead, Freeport, Elmont and Westbury. To make an appointment, call 516-396-7500. —NEWSDAY STAFF

Watch Nassau County Executive Laura Curran's daily press briefing

NICE changes schedule because of protests

The protests over the death of George Floyd last week in Minneapolis are resulting in changes to Nassau County bus service, officials said.

The Nassau Inter-County Express, or NICE, announced Monday evening the temporary closure of its busiest hub, the Rosa Parks Hempstead Transit Center, and changes to several routes that extend into New York City, where officials have instituted a curfew.

NICE announced it will suspend all service into Queens beginning at 5 p.m. on Tuesday for routes in Far Rockaway and at 7:30 p.m. for routes in Flushing and Jamaica. That includes NICE’s two busiest lines, the N6 and N4.

“Additionally, local protests may disrupt service,” NICE told its customers in a message. “Please anticipate detours and major service delays during evening travel.” – ALFONSO CASTILLO

Tuesday morning updates

Cuomo: New COVID-19 hospitalizations at an all-time low

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Tuesday said COVID-19 hospitalizations and intubations all continue to decline, and the number of new hospitalizations, at 154, is “at an all-time low.”

The statewide toll of people who died Monday was 58, up from 54 the previous day, Cuomo said.

“It’s breathtaking how far we’ve come and how fast we’ve come,” he said of the coronaviris crisis.

Still, Cuomo said, multiple crises are now colliding — the pandemic and civil unrest following George Floyd’s death.

“It’s Day 94 of the COVID pandemic, Day 9 of the situation we are dealing with the killing of Mr. Floyd,” Cuomo said in Albany.

The governor also said the Western New York Region enters Phase 2 of reopening Tuesday, and the Capital Region will enter Phase 2 Wednesday.

Summer day camps can open June 29, but the state is still reviewing its decision on sleep-away camps, the governor said. —NEWSDAY STAFF

Watch Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's daily press briefing

De Blasio: Concerned protests could lead to spread of coronavirus

Mayor Bill de Blasio said that New York City is moving forward with reopening its economy on Monday, but also expressed concern that protests over the death of George Floyd could lead to a potential spread of the coronavirus.

De Blasio on Tuesday urged protesters to honor the city’s 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew, which he said would be extended through Sunday.

If everyone honors the curfew, he said, “We’re going to get through this.”

De Blasio said in talking to city residents, he is hearing from people who are running out of money, don’t have jobs and are worried about the health of themselves and their families due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“There’s such pain and frustration . . . this is a horrible perfect storm we’re living through,” he said. —NEWSDAY STAFF

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