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What to expect (and how to stay safe) in Phase 3

Doctors: Follow reopening rules or risk a relapse

COVID-19 cases have continued to decline on Long Island, as manufacturing, landscaping, retail and outdoor dining returned over the past month.

But indoor dining, which begins Wednesday, creates special challenges because it's not as easy to keep people safely apart and ventilation may not be as good.

"There is concern that in an enclosed space, there is an increased concentration of droplets," said Dr. Marc Adler, chief medical officer at NYU Winthrop in Mineola. "When you're outside, there is more air circulation."

Adler said when people are eating, they're not wearing masks but are talking, sneezing and laughing — all of which lead to droplets.

Dr. Patrick O'Shaughnessy, executive vice president and chief clinical officer at Catholic Health Services, stressed social distancing, mask wearing and good hygiene as keys to avoiding a COVID-19 relapse.

"If we do it right, we will be fine. If we don't, and we have to pause again, that would be a disaster," he said.

The number of new positives today, reported as of 3 p.m.: 31 in Nassau, 46 in Suffolk, 315 in New York City and 597 statewide.

The chart above shows the cumulative number of people who have been tested for coronavirus in Nassau and Suffolk counties. Search a map and view more charts showing the latest local trends in new cases, hospitalizations, deaths and more.

What you can expect with indoor dining at restaurants

Restaurants can reopen their indoor dining rooms for the first time since March 16. But it's both a relief and a puzzle for many operators.

“We did what we never thought was possible. We're still standing three months later,” said Carol Offermann, who owns Nicky’s of Centerport with her husband, Toby.

With restaurants mandated to reduce their indoor seating to 50% of their pre-coronavirus capacity, Phase 3 won't be a walk in the park. The Offermanns and other proprietors have had to re-imagine their restaurants at every successive phase, including this one.

From mask-wearing protocols to making reservations, here are the tips and reminders you need before dining at restaurants in the next phase.

Still have questions? Watch Newsday's recent webinar to see experts discuss what restaurants can do to make their customers feel safe and how you can enjoy dining out. 

Funds set aside for day care

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced $65 million in funding aimed at getting day care centers reopened or expanded so they can socially distance better.

Cuomo said the $65 million for day care centers is coming to the state through the federal CARES Act.

"As we move further into the reopening and more parents go back to work, we're also making sure child care programs across the state have the support they need to reopen safely," Cuomo said in a statement.

Meanwhile, in Phase 3 beginning Wednesday, Long Island can return to personal care businesses like nail salons and spas. Nassau County Executive Laura Curran seemed ready to see more businesses open. 

Still, some questions remain for how businesses can reopen safely. Find out more with answers to common questions about resuming business activity.

Nursing assistants tell grim tale of facility with most deaths

Certified nursing assistants at the nursing home that reported New York’s highest COVID-19 death toll remember how a feisty patient became lifeless after she was moved to a makeshift ward in an auditorium.

They say the nursing home failed to provide adequate protective equipment and recall workers transporting bodies to a morgue with little assistance or training.

One says she wept in the locker room for residents who had died, many she had known for years, before she herself contracted COVID-19.

“We built a relationship with residents that we lost,” said Marcia Lumley-Gayle, 57, of Elmont, who has worked for 22 years at Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation in New Hyde Park.

On the front lines of the pandemic, certified nursing assistants feed, turn and wash nursing home patients for an average salary at Parker Jewish of $41,000 a year, according to their union.

In interviews with Newsday, Lumley-Gayle and two colleagues offered a view of the sorrows and resentments they suffered inside a 527-bed facility on the Nassau-Queens border that has reported 82 coronavirus deaths. Read more on their story.

More to know

New York City will hold a series of “brief but mighty” fireworks shows next week, culminating with a finale from the top of the Empire State Building on the Fourth of July, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, told a House committee he believes “it will be when and not if” there will be a COVID-19 vaccine and that he remains “cautiously optimistic” that some will be ready at the end of the year.

Siblings in Babylon Village set up a food drop-off outside their home and have now collected 8,000 pounds of donated food for others during the pandemic.

Polls opened at 6 a.m. Tuesday across Long Island for presidential, congressional and local primaries, which were postponed over concerns of spreading the virus. 

Nassau Republican legislators unveiled the design for a new service bar for sworn officers and a commemorative pin for health care workers and first responders on the front lines during the pandemic.

News for you

Getting ready for a manicure. Phase 3 means many nail salons, spas and spots specializing in brows and waxing are getting back to work. When they do reopen, it will be to stricter regulations and guidelines. From having your temperature taken to sitting near plastic dividers, here are seven changes you might see at your next visit.

A global virtual concert. Dwayne Johnson will host and Shakira, Miley Cyrus and Jennifer Hudson will perform during a concert calling on world leaders to make coronavirus tests and treatment available and equitable for all. Global Goal: Unite for Our Future — The Concert will air on June 27.

First look at the "Hamilton" trailer. On "Good Morning America," "Hamilton" creator Lin-Manuel Miranda talked about the trailer for the filmed performance of the musical, which will begin streaming on Disney Plus on July 3.

SpongeBob on demand. "The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run," which was set to open in theaters on May 15 and was rescheduled for Aug. 7, will instead get an on-demand release before streaming early next year on CBS All Access, the service announced.

How will colleges keep students safe? Join us tomorrow for Newsday's latest free virtual event with local education experts to discuss how the fall semester may unfold, student safety, parental concerns and more. Save your spot.

Plus: Planning for summer beach days? Experts share the virus safety tips you need before heading out.

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


Properly wearing masks is important. As Long Island quickly approaches its most beautiful seasons, one can sense the COVID-19 crisis is resolving much like the flu and common cold, writes Dr. Glenn Messina, of Commack, in a letter published in Newsday Opinion.

Despite the sunshine and warm weather, however, we still encounter COVID-19.

It’s very important to wear face masks, a simple measure to avoid spreading viral particles in a mist produced by a cough or sneeze. The major point of any mask is proper use and, although many are wearing masks, I see only a few using them properly. The N95 mask should be snug, no space under the chin or over the nose. The sides should fit tight.

Many people’s nostrils peer over the top, which is almost akin to not wearing a mask at all. It’s equally important to wear them properly. While it’s true the mask is not 100% preventive, it is very capable of blocking viral spread. Even if you are young and healthy, if you catch the virus, you will bring it home to family members who may be more vulnerable. This is a responsibility not only for your welfare but also for the welfare of others.