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Malls can reopen Friday, but with a catch

Cuomo: Malls can open in Phase 4 with proper air filtration

To be allowed to reopen, malls would need special air filtering systems that could help reduce the spread of the coronavirus, Cuomo said. 

It was unclear Wednesday afternoon which malls on Long Island could meet that standard.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said it was "great news" the county’s malls could permit in-person shoppers.

“I was hoping this news would come down,” Curran said. Cuomo “understands the importance of the malls to our economy and to a reopening.”

Curran said she was reassured by one of the major mall operators that filters were installed but declined to give the name of the mall when questioned, citing a confidential conversation.

She stressed that business owners were taking precautions seriously because “nobody wants to be the place where something bad happened.” 

Long Island welcomes Phase 4

Museums, the aquarium and other cultural institutions, which for months have suffered without visitors and revenue during the pandemic, are ready to welcome the public as Nassau and Suffolk counties entered Phase 4 of the state’s economic reopening plan on Wednesday.

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Universities, community colleges and other schools of higher education are continuing remote learning for the summer session but are putting plans in place for some students to return in the fall.

“There is much work still to be done, but this is a significant milestone,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.

Phase 4 allows certain low-risk indoor and outdoor arts and entertainment as well as media production and professional sports competitions without fans. People must continue to wear face coverings and practice social distancing at all of these sites, officials said.

Still wondering about the guidelines and what's allowed to open? Read these answers to common questions about Phase 4.

The number of new positives today, as of 3 p.m.: 34 in Nassau, 69 in Suffolk, 289 in New York City and 692 statewide.

The map below shows the concentration of cases within Long Island communities. Search the map and view charts showing the latest local trends in testing, hospitalizations, deaths and more.

Decision on school reopenings will come in early August

New York State will decide by early August if schools can reopen in September after a monthslong shutdown, Cuomo said Wednesday.

The state will publish guidelines on schools reopening by July 13, Cuomo said, and school districts would need to submit their plans by July 31. New York will decide between Aug. 1 and 7 whether schools can reopen for the fall semester in any form, he said.

“We will open the schools if it is safe to open the schools," Cuomo said. "Everybody wants the schools open. Everybody. Nobody wants the schools open more than I do … But we want it to be safe.”

Cuomo said despite President Donald Trump’s strong calls this week that schools must reopen in September, the decision was up to state governors, including himself.

Cuomo indicated that there could be different decisions for different regions of the state, based on the numbers of coronavirus cases in each area.

Are people eager to rush back to the gym?

Long Island gym owners have sweated through strategic and financial workouts to prepare for reopenings.

How long before fitness facilities get the go-ahead? A class-action suit discussed by fitness facilities would push for ASAP.

In the meantime, there are more burning questions: How are gyms getting ready for reentry even before statewide protocols are set? Do people want to go back or continue to work out at home on their own?

Steven Briscoe, 27, co-owner of Farmingdale Fit Body Boot Camp, which, like many gyms, pivoted to virtual classes early in the pandemic lockdown, surveyed 200 of his clients last month to gauge interest in returning.

“About 70% are itching to get back to the gym,” he said. “The other 30% prefer a wait-and-see approach.” 

This LI startup predicts where COVID-19 will spike

A Long Island artificial intelligence startup has built software aimed at pinpointing U.S. counties where the outbreak is likely to be most deadly.

In a June report, the data-mining company Akai Kaeru LLC forecast spiking COVID-19 mortality, with the heaviest concentrations in counties of the Southeast, including Mississippi, Georgia and Louisiana, said co-founder and chief executive Klaus Mueller.

Nationwide, the software found 985 out of all 3,007 U.S. counties are at risk.

"These patterns identify groups of counties that have a steeper increase in the death-rate trajectory," he said.

Closer to home, the software found Nassau and Suffolk counties are likely to be relatively stable, but Westchester and Rockland counties are potential tinderboxes that could tip into crisis, said Mueller, a computer science professor at Stony Brook University.

More to know

The Mets plan to put cardboard cutouts of fans in the stands at Citi Field home games, a free perk for season-ticket holders who renew their packages for 2021. 

President Donald Trump threatened to withhold federal money if schools don’t reopen in the fall, and lashed out at federal health officials over school reopening guidelines.

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the governor's shutdown of gun shops as nonessential businesses during the pandemic did not violate the 2nd Amendment.

Nassau County has issued a notice of default to the operating company of NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum that threatens to terminate its arena lease if more than $2 million in unpaid rent and utilities isn’t paid in two weeks.

A GoFundMe page that was started to help pay for medical expenses for Nick Cordero, the Broadway actor who died on Sunday from complications of the coronavirus, surpassed the $1 million mark

News for you

Where to get frozen cocktails. Summer is in full swing, and so are adult slushies. Scroll through these eight frozen cocktails served around Long Island that you can try this season.

Blake Shelton goes on the big screen. The country star and coach from “The Voice” will perform a drive-in concert on the movie screen at Adventureland in Farmingdale on July 25. It will feature special guests Gwen Stefani and Trace Adkins.

Catch an LI chef on Food Network. Chef Gigi Sacchetti, chef-partner of Naples Street Food in Franklin Square, won a December episode of "Guy’s Grocery Games." Now he's been invited back for a tournament of champions: “Summer Grillin’ Games” which airs Wednesday at 9 p.m.

In case you missed it. Replay Newsday's latest free virtual event that featured a discussion on how Long Island is progressing through the reopening, ways you can help your small business and a look ahead at what’s to come.

Plus: Looking for a new summer recipe? This stacked vegetable sandwich you can make on the grill might do the trick.

Get real-time updates about the virus' impact on the Island by visiting our live blog and watch our latest daily wrap-up video, which looks at what Long Island can expect in Phase 4.

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Colleges can't fully protect kids, and that's OK. My daughter’s college, Brandeis University, is trying to make my wife and I and the Beloved Sapling comfortable with the idea that its promised precautions can protect her from coronavirus, writes Lane Filler in a Newsday Opinion column.

We’re not. They probably can’t.

But we’re sending her back, and not just because as the summer has worn on and her parents have worn out she’s started asking questions like, “When you run away with all your belongings stuffed in a kerchief on a broom handle, exactly how do you fasten the kerchief?”

We are comfortable sending her because we understand she may very well contract coronavirus, and we don’t believe the disease is dangerous enough to a healthy 19-year-old to justify shutting down her life.

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