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Wearing masks in the heat

How workers cope with masks despite high temperatures

The issue of wearing masks in the heat has been confounding workers across Long Island, from roofers to pizza makers to telecommuters on daily jogs.

Alan Siris, president of Enterprise Asphalt Paving Inc. based in East Setauket, said the unrelenting heat is compounded by the nature of his work.

"We're working with 300-degree asphalt," he said. "It's brutal."

When the temperature goes over 90 degrees, he'll postpone jobs until the weather moderates. When they're on a job, workers wear face masks depending on how close they're bunched, he said.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advocates physical distancing of at least 6 feet from people who are not from your household in both indoor and outdoor settings. Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, earlier this month cited two studies calling cloth face coverings "one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus."

Find out more and some tips for wearing face masks in hot weather.

Fauci optimistic for widely available vaccine

Once a coronavirus vaccine is approved as safe and effective, Americans should have widespread access within a reasonable time, Dr. Anthony Fauci assured lawmakers Friday.

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Appearing before a House panel investigating the nation's response to the pandemic, Fauci expressed “cautious” optimism that a vaccine would be available, particularly by next year.

“I believe, ultimately, over a period of time in 2021, that Americans will be able to get it,” Fauci said, referring to the vaccine.

There will be a priority list for who gets early vaccinations. “I don't think we will have everybody getting it immediately,” Fauci explained. But “ultimately, within a reasonable time, the plans allow for any American who needs the vaccine to get it,” he added.

The number of new positives today: 45 in Nassau, 54 in Suffolk, 285 in New York City and 644 statewide.

The chart above shows the cumulative number of people who have tested positive for coronavirus in New York City and in the state. Search a map and view more charts showing the latest local trends in testing, hospitalizations, deaths and more.

NYC mayor: Schools won't open if infection rate over 3%

New York City won’t open schools unless the citywide infection rate is below 3%  — a stricter standard than the state’s threshold of 5%, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday.

The city has been below the 3% threshold for weeks, but if schools open, and if the infection rate begins to rise above the threshold, schools would be closed and there would be other containment measures citywide, de Blasio said.

In the case of one or two confirmed infected students or teachers in an individual classroom, de Blasio said those assigned to that classroom would be quarantined for 14 days. The entire building would be closed if there were two or more cases in different classrooms. Learning would shift to a remote program, he said.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has said he will reach a final decision next week on whether to reopen schools statewide.

Spending the hours that used to be commuting time

Not having to commute into the city has been an unexpected boon to many Long Islanders. According to a study by the Long Island Association, more than a fifth of Long Island workers, 20.5%, commuted regularly into the city in 2017.

Now, many of them are working from a bedroom, basement or breakfast nook and finding they value the time, money and stress they save from not commuting into the city.

Taquana Johnson, a lawyer at HSBC and mother of three, used to wake up at 6 to get her kids ready for school and then commute from Baldwin Harbor to the bank’s offices in Midtown.

“Besides saving money, we have so much more family time," Johnson, 45, said. "We cook together and go on family walks. I taught my youngest to ride a bike.”

More to know

Long Island state beaches have about twice as many rookie lifeguards this summer during the pandemic — but rest assured, officials say, many are competitive swimmers with the “jump-into-action” personality.

The fiscal crisis facing the MTA is threatening to set back several planned accessibility upgrades for riders with disabilities, including improvements on the LIRR, officials said.

A federal loan and grant program for businesses and nonprofits trying to survive the pandemic has “pervasive fraudulent activity,” an independent watchdog said this week.

The number of new unemployment claims on Long Island fell last week to its lowest level since April, state data shows.

There are 80 homeless families in Nassau County expected to move into the former Hampton Inn on Jericho Turnpike, a facility officials say will help families in need during the pandemic.

News for you

It's time to rediscover picnics. Welcome to the season where little is as we hoped or expected. One of the only certainties during this summer? The ability to dine in the open air of a park or beach. Take a look at these ideas.

Drive-in series takes on tribute bands. The Sid Jacobson Jewish Community Center in East Hills is launching its own series in August with a movie and two concerts paying tribute to the Allman Brothers Band and The Beatles.

The Emmys go virtual. Awards host Jimmy Kimmel and executive producers confirmed the Sept. 20 Primetime Emmy Awards will be virtual.

Virtual 'Goodfellas' event spotlights LI. The pivotal role played by Long Island is often forgotten about "Goodfellas." Kings Park film historian Glenn Andreiev will focus on the local spots during a virtual discussion about the movie on Thursday. Find out how to tune in.

Plus: Join us on Aug.13 for a special virtual event as part of the Newsday Live Author Series, featuring best-selling author and senior vice president of PETA Dan Mathews and Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning actor Alec Baldwin. Save your spot

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Commentary

Forget the wine list, ask about employee treatment. Adam Chandler writes for The Washington Post: In recent years, discerning diners have made a point of asking about the provenance of what they eat.

Is the produce local? Are the eggs organic? Were the pigs read Baudelaire each night? These are important questions, of course, and ones brought on by a better understanding of our food system and a commitment to ethical consumption. But, despite this enlightenment, our conscientiousness too often stops at the plate. When it comes to restaurant workers' pay, benefits and safety, conversations remain limited — and not in a small-batch way.

Unfortunately, a global pandemic hasn't changed this dynamic much. Perhaps the most surreal image of wary state reopenings has been restaurant-goers dining al fresco with masks on. In more normal times, outdoor dining is emblematic of summer, with the sunny, chaotic confidence of cities on full display.

But for the workers who prepare and serve the food, these restaurant reopenings mean a return to a dangerous system that didn't work even before the pandemic.

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