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Reopening day for NYC

LIRR restores service as NYC enters Phase 1

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said it was “literally a beautiful day” as an estimated 200,000 to 400,000 workers — many from Long Island — returned to construction sites, factories, wholesale outlets, retail stores and other New York businesses Monday.

At the LIRR’s busiest Long Island station in Hicksville, there were only a few dozen commuters waiting for a westbound train at any given time Monday morning, and plenty of parking spaces in the station lot.

Nevertheless, the railroad, which had been operating on a reduced schedule since March, restored about 90% of its usual weekday service this morning.

Those returning to the system after staying home for the last two months were greeted by floor markings to keep them socially distant as they waited to use the ticket vending machine, and a “sanitation station” with uniformed LIRR personnel handing out bottles of hand sanitizer and face masks to those who need them.

Meanwhile, a celebratory Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo declared New York has its "mojo" back 100 days after the first coronavirus case hit the state, and positive test results for the virus dropped to near-record lows across the state.

“New Yorkers did what many experts told me was impossible in 100 days. I don’t think I have had a good night’s sleep in 100 days, knowing some of the things they told me,” Cuomo said. “New Yorkers bent the curve by being smart.” 

The chart above shows the number of new cases in Nassau and Suffolk counties in recent days. Search a map and view more charts showing the latest local trends in testing, hospitalizations, deaths and more.

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The numbers as of 3 p.m.: 40,947 confirmed cases in Nassau, 40,377 in Suffolk, 207,353 in New York City and 378,799 statewide.

9/11 first responders are also high-risk for COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic has taken the lives of more than 24,000 New Yorkers — more than 85% over the age of 60 with underlying health conditions. But below the surface another disturbing trend has emerged.

Hundreds of police officers, firefighters, emergency responders and construction workers who spent time on the smoldering pile in lower Manhattan nearly 19 years ago are getting sick — again — this time with coronavirus, and at a rate higher than others in their age bracket, doctors say.

After surviving the horrors of 9/11, and its equally cruel aftereffects, many first responders have been unable to fight off the virus, becoming victims of two of the deadliest events of the 21st century.

Nassau, Suffolk ready offices for return of workers

As offices across Long Island come to life Wednesday under Phase 2 of the state's reopening plans, Nassau and Suffolk counties are rushing to reconfigure buildings for thousands of government workers, many of whom are leery of returning to sites where they'll have contact with the public for the first time in months, union leaders and county officials said.

Over the past several weeks, particularly in Nassau, county workers have been moving cubicles and desks farther apart, installing Plexiglas partitions and signs reminding people to socially distance and marking elevator floors with X's for where passengers should stand.

Agencies are creating rules on how to interact with the public, making some formerly walk-in services "appointment only," officials said.

The number of workers in government offices will be reduced to comply with state and federal guidelines implemented since the pandemic began. Some staffers likely will have to agree to stagger their hours or go into the office on alternating days, working from home the rest of the week.

“It’s not going to be the same as pre-COVID; there are going to be a lot of changes,” said Brian Schneider, deputy Nassau County executive for parks and public works.

What you should know before going to the hair salon

They’re baaaack. And they're different.

It’s been more than three months since hair salons and barbershops closed due to the pandemic. Now, with many openings tentatively slated for this week, beauty establishments are taking unprecedented steps to adhere to a brand-new safety protocol. 

On the flip side, plenty of clients, though desperate for grooming fixes, are looking at their favorite go-to's through new eyes. Many say salons must be visually immaculate and uncrowded before they’ll be willing to sit in a swivel chair again.

The bottom line: There’s a new salon normal and it’s all going to be very, very different. Hair salons will be open by appointment when Long Island enters Phase 2 Wednesday, but nail salons, tattoo parlors, threading, waxing and manicure and pedicure shops will remain closed. 

Here are some of the changes you can expect.

More to know

Southampton Town will deploy a team solely devoted to picking up discarded personal protective equipment, like masks and gloves, as well as other litter from the town’s roads, beaches, parks and parking lots.

The deadline for mail-in school ballots has been extended, now allowing ballots for votes on school district budgets and board candidates to be hand-delivered through 5 p.m. June 9 and received by mail through June 16, Cuomo said.

New York State has committed about $1.9 billion in direct spending to address the pandemic in the two months since mid-March and it estimates it will spend up to $5 billion by the end of the year, according to Cuomo's budget office.

Suffolk’s 311 call center, launched a year ago largely so residents could easily report potholes and other quality-of-life concerns, has become an avenue for connecting residents to coronavirus-related resources, county officials said.

Thousands more free PPE starter kits will be available to small businesses in Nassau County because of a $2 million grant from the Town of Hempstead, officials said.

Independence Day fireworks at Jones Beach State Park have been canceled, the state parks department said, because the celebration is just too popular to follow social distancing.

News for you

Trading vacation plans for safer ones. Families looking for an escape this summer are scrapping their original vacation plans for new ones that limit the risk of contracting the coronavirus. Learn how some Long Islanders are trying to stay safe while vacationing this summer.

Food trucks are back. They've returned to Eisenhower Park in East Meadow, serving fare like macaroni-and-cheese-stuffed grilled cheese, chicken gyros and acai bowls to hungry patrons. Find out what you can expect at the park this season.

Drive-in concert driven out. Considering the Drive-In Concert Series at Adventureland in Farmingdale? Not so fast. Opening night of the series set to begin June 13 was canceled after the band pulled out for receiving heat from their fans over the $200 admission fee.

A pop-up pizzeria. Ella's, a takeout-only summer pop-up, has taken over Old Fields Restaurant in Greenlawn. Old Fields ceased operations after 10 years to prepare for a monthslong reboot.

Plus: Join us for our free webinar tomorrow on what to expect when summer day camps open later this month, how sleepaway camps could be handled and more. Reserve your spot and revisit some of our previous webinars.

Get real-time updates about the virus' impact on the Island by visiting our live blog and watch our latest daily wrap-up video.

Commentary

In lockdown, visiting Mom means a wave from her balcony. As with many others during these tough times, I am concerned about the elderly — specifically my mother, now 90, living at The Regency Assisted Living facility in Glen Cove, writes reader Saul Schachter, of Sea Cliff

But Mom seems to be holding up just fine, although in the beginning, I don’t think she quite appreciated what was going on.

“Saul, we’re in lockdown,” she told me over the phone in mid-March. “No one is allowed in. No one is allowed out. Do you want to come over for lunch?”

I told her, reluctantly, I didn’t think that was going to work.

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