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Long Island's on track for next reopening phase

State says the region made substantial progress

Cuomo said again that New York is "making great progress" with decreased infections and hospitalizations, and a death toll that has fallen precipitously from the disease's peak in the state, following drastic measures including the shutdown of nonessential businesses and schools and the implementation of social distancing.

He noted Long Island has made substantial progress, with the percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 dropping from 20% to 2% in the last six weeks.

“This is all a function of our behavior, nothing more, nothing less,” Cuomo said during his daily briefing from Albany. "Reopen with caution. Why? Because we’ve seen too many examples … where it boomeranged.”

Long Island has been in Phase 1 of reopening for more than a week, seeing a return of its construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting as well as retail for curbside, pickup and delivery.

In the second phase, Long Island and other regions will be able to bring back real estate, in-store retail, office work, vehicle sales, leases and rentals, hair salons and barbershops and outdoor food services.

New virus tracking system shows reduction in cases

Using a new state tracking system, Suffolk County officials released updated coronavirus case totals for each community for the first time since May 25.

The new system allowed Suffolk to weed out numerous inapplicable test results, officials said, causing a reduction of 2,105 in the cumulative tally of county infections assigned to communities since the pandemic began.

The Suffolk County executive’s office attributed the decline to removing from previous counts the results of tests for virus-killing antibodies that patients' immune systems develop after becoming infected.

"The reduction seen in cumulative numbers is a result of the new map being able to filter out positive antibody test results," said Derek Poppe, a spokesman for County Executive Steve Bellone. "This is in line with how New York State reports their numbers and is the recognized best practice."

Because the new numbers don't match those previously used by the county, Newsday cannot immediately calculate how cases have increased on a daily or weekly basis in individual communities until the county releases a week’s worth of daily statistics.

Newsday maps the data online and has charts showing the latest local trends in testing, hospitalizations, deaths and more. The following chart shows the number of new cases in Nassau and Suffolk in recent days.

The total numbers as of 3 p.m.: 40,713 confirmed cases in Nassau, 40,153 in Suffolk, 205,406 in New York City and 375,133 statewide.

Buying a house without even seeing it

Alix Vance knew her family needed to buy a home with enough space for remote work and schooling, a backyard, proximity to a charming downtown and convenient access to New York City. So when she found a house in Locust Valley that checked every box, she felt confident it was the right choice.

So confident, in fact, that she and her husband, David, signed a contract last month to purchase the four-bedroom house without ever stepping foot inside it.

The Vances, who are relocating from California with their two teenage sons and their dog, expect to visit the house for the first time in August, when they come to Long Island to close the sale. They based their decision on online photos, floor plans, video tours and additional research by their real estate agent.

“It's very reflective of the time that we're in,” Vance said.

The pandemic and shutdown of nonessential work — including in-person showings by real estate agents — has forced prospective homebuyers to make difficult choices.

Restaurants prepare for the return of outdoor dining

Several Long Island restaurant owners cheered Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's announcement yesterday that outdoor dining will be permitted in Phase 2 of the state's reopening.

That means diners could enjoy al fresco meals as soon as next week, if Nassau and Suffolk county virus metrics stay on track.

“I’m relieved. We’ve been waiting for this announcement,” said Anthony A. Capetola, who owns The Carltun at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow — especially because the restaurant has 26 acres and multiple outdoor spaces with which to work. 

The courtyard already has tables for 120 diners, but Capetola estimates he could seat about 1,000 people across the property's patios and gardens with social distancing protocols in place. They repainted outdoor furniture and planted vegetables in the greenhouse, baked bread for an on-site, outdoor food market, manned a food window for golfers and cooked a special takeout menu of dishes such as lobster bisque and chicken scarpariello. 

“We’ll be able to generate some income for the first time in a long time,” he said.

More to know

Churches across Long Island are eager to reopen, and local religious leaders are considering how to keep their congregations safe even though they said they, not the government, should decide when to bring congregants back. 

The NBA’s Board of Governors has approved a 22-team format for restarting the league season in late July at the Disney campus near Orlando, Florida, a person with knowledge of the situation said.

The state Liquor Authority took steps toward revoking the license of Dublin Deck, the Patchogue bar that created a stir when a video surfaced showing patrons packed inside, violating social distancing rules.

Small business owners would have more latitude in using their Paycheck Protection Program loans if President Donald Trump signs into law a bill given final passage by the Senate on Wednesday.

Nearly 1.9 million people applied for U.S. unemployment benefits last week, evidence that many employers are still cutting jobs even as the gradual reopening of businesses has slowed the pace of layoffs.

Nassau County began accepting applications yesterday from small businesses for free face masks, hand sanitizer and other personal protection equipment, officials said.

News for you

Face masks, but make it fashion. Regularly wearing a mask was new for many Long Islanders, but having a stylish one can make it feel more like you. Seamstresses, designers and shop owners have been creating for-sale masks at varying price points in almost every color and pattern or to match an outfit.

Online learning for seniors. With lots of time and nowhere to go, some seniors have been participating in online programs to stay engaged and pass the time. Libraries, senior centers and businesses offer virtual programs like how-to craft sessions, exercise classes or a virtual coffee hour just to talk. 

What the film festival would've been. From an empty movie theater in Paris, organizers of the Cannes Film Festival announced the films that would have played there in May had it not been canceled by the pandemic.

For the brides of Long Island. Wedding Warehouse consignment shop in Bohemia now has limited operations for future brides after being closed during the pandemic. The shop offers new or previously owned dresses, jewelry, hairpieces and more.

Plus: You probably got your ballot for Tuesday's school elections in the mail. The switch to absentee ballots was ordered to protect public health. See what's at stake in your district.

Get real-time updates about the virus' impact on the Island by visiting our live blog.

Commentary

Cartoonists around the globe have drawn cartoons about the pandemic. Take a look at more cartoons in this gallery.

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