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:

Wednesday afternoon updates

Bellone vows to help outdoor dining return

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone lauded Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s announcement that outdoor dining at restaurants would be permitted under Phase 2 of reopening, and said the county would act quickly to help those eateries set up for business.

Bellone said the county’s health department would swiftly approve permits OKd at local levels allowing the restaurants the outdoor dining space.

Phase 2 of reopening the economy in the wake of the coronavirus crisis is expected to be enacted on Long Island next week.

Bellone said 82 more people tested positive for the virus in the past 24 hours, or 1.7% of 4,840 tested. Eleven fewer people were hospitalized with the virus, or 236 in all.

Six more people have died of COVID-19, or 1,915 total in the county, Bellone said. — NEWSDAY STAFF

Bellone, union leaders meet

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said he met with leaders of public-sector unions Wednesday to begin laying out details of the “unprecedented fiscal emergency” brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

At his briefing Wednesday, he reiterated a point made Tuesday: that the budget hole in the county could reach $1.5 billion over the next 2 ½ years, and he again appealed to the federal government for help.

“This is a moment in time where we need the federal government to step forward,” he said.

Many of the union chiefs represented essential responders to the pandemic, and more recently, to protests in the county after the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis last week, Bellone said. He began discussions by thanking the workers for their service in the face of both crises, he said. — NEWSDAY STAFF

Curran: 1.6% of coronavirus tests come back positive

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said that of 4,433 people tested for the coronavirus in the county on Tuesday, 1.6% tested positive, “the lowest we’ve seen.”

Those 72 new positive results give the county 40,644 total confirmed cases since the crisis began in March.

Curran said the numbers of ventilated COVID-19 patients and ICU cases continued to decline, but she did not say by how many. Three more people died of COVID-19 in the past day to bring the county’s death toll to 2,130.

Curran said that Wednesday marked the beginning of a pilot program in which about 1,000 small businesses will be able to get kits of personal protective equipment, thanks to a partnership between the county and the Nassau Industrial Development Agency. The kits will contain digital thermometers, face shields, masks, gloves, sanitizers and wipes, she said. Small-business owners can go to to apply for them. – NEWSDAY STAFF

Watch Nassau County Executive Laura Curran’s press briefing:

Cuomo: COVID-19 deaths hit low but 'still a real threat'

On what he called Day 95 of the coronavirus crisis, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Wednesday that there was good news: New York is seeing the lowest number of hospitalizations and the lowest number of deaths, with 49 reported for Tuesday.

That is down from 58 on Monday, the governor said.

But Cuomo repeated his plea for those protesting the death of George Flynn, an unarmed black man who died while in Minneapolis police custody, to “protest intelligently” and remain mindful that the coronavirus crisis “is still a real threat.”

"If we stay united and stay loving we can face all of these issues," including the COVID-19 crisis, Cuomo said. “This was a beast . . . but we can control it.” – NEWSDAY STAFF

Watch Gov. Andrew Cuomo's press briefing:

NYC preparing for safe return for commuters after COVID-19 shutdown

With New York City set to reopen parts of its economy on Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city will provide face coverings to bus and subway riders and work with the Metropolitan Transit Authority to ensure commuters social distance.

De Blasio said Wednesday that he is proposing every other seat on buses and subways be blocked off and that there be markers indicating where commuters can stand. He said there also needs to be capacity limits on buses and trains.

The mayor also announced that eligibility for coronavirus testing has been expanded to all New Yorkers.

“All New Yorkers are now welcome to come forward and get tested, and get tested for free,” de Blasio said. – NEWSDAY STAFF

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