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37 test positive after LI Sweet 16 party, officials say

Suffolk officials: Venue fined $10G

The Sweet 16 party at the popular venue, which had more than 80 guests, happened Sept. 25. The number of guests exceeded the state maximum of 50, officials said, noting not all attendees were wearing masks.

Students from several area high schools are among those who tested positive.

The Miller Place Inn, known for hosting weddings and other elaborate functions, received fines for breaking state and county health codes. Co-owner Donna Regina referred questions to her brother, fellow co-owner and inn manager Christopher Regina. He said, "We understood we were operating under the guidelines set forth by the county and the state."

Asked what he understood were those guidelines, he said, "The guidelines of the restaurants of the area, same as them. We had no knowledge we were out of the guidelines."

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said at a news conference that venues are allowed to host only 50 or fewer people, at 50% or less capacity. There were 81 guests at the party, he said.

The number of new positives reported today: 101 in Nassau, 68 in Suffolk, 545 in New York City and 1,393 statewide.

The chart above shows new daily coronavirus cases confirmed in New York City and the state. Search a map and view charts showing local trends in testing, hospitalizations, deaths and more.

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DiNapoli: MTA faces historic crisis because of COVID-19

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority faces "the greatest crisis" in its history because of the economic shutdown forced by the pandemic, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said.

"The MTA's financial condition is dire," DiNapoli said in a report Tuesday. "With ridership down, debt burden rising and no additional help likely from New York State or New York City, the MTA desperately needs an influx of federal funds or unheard-of service cuts and workforce reductions will happen … More than a reliable subway or commuter train ride is at stake. Washington needs to step up to help the MTA if our regional economy is going to fully recover."

The annual report stated ridership on the Long Island Rail Road reached 91 million in 2019, its highest since 1949 — but ridership is expected to drop 67% this year. An increase to 94 million riders isn't forecast until 2023.

Ridership also reached a record last year on the Metro-North Railroad, to 86.8 million riders, but the MTA forecasts that will drop 67% this year before reaching 88 million riders in 2023, according to the report.

MTA chairman and CEO Patrick Foye said the comptroller's report is "further independent validation that the MTA faces fiscal calamity for years to come" unless the federal government provides $12 billion in aid.

Sheriff in town's not new, but his turf is

As New York City began this summer enforcing a quarantine during a once-in-a-century pandemic to isolate travelers arriving now from most states, Mayor Bill de Blasio did not enlist the New York's Finest, the 36,000-cop NYPD, to enforce checkpoints.

Nor did he turn to the police department to lead the charge when illegal fireworks across the city became a sudden scourge at all hours of the night.

Instead, de Blasio vested these enforcement duties in an obscure city agency within the city Department of Finance, the sheriff's office — the same agency that's been tasked with helping combat illegal gatherings inside restaurants, pubs, karaoke bars and even public parks.

The mayor's pick to enforce the rules earned the ridicule of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who said last month: "Did you ever hear of the sheriff’s office? There's, like, 150 people in the sheriff’s office." (There's actually 171, according to de Blasio spokesman Mitch Schwartz.)

De Blasio: Schools' COVID-19 testing results 'really encouraging'

New York City found only one positive case of COVID-19 in public schools from random tests conducted on 1,751 people, including students and staff, at 56 schools.

The random tests began last Friday, the mayor said Tuesday morning at his daily news conference, and the schools started to reopen last month for in-person classes.

"That's really, really encouraging, and it says how important it is to constantly keep a lookout, and constantly focus on testing," de Blasio said.

As part of a deal with the city teachers’ labor union, de Blasio agreed to a randomized, monthly testing regimen, with as many as 20% of adults and students in each building to be tested and shutdown plans dependent on coronavirus infection rates.

De Blasio said that by the end of this week, the city could know whether the restrictions imposed late last week on coronavirus hot spots in parts of Brooklyn and Queens would last two weeks, the minimum period, or longer.

Introducing LI's latest dining craze

Who is Chef Soy Sauce, exactly, and how do you get him to call you back?

This was a recurring question on social media this fall after reports surfaced of a masked hibachi chef who would spin his cleaver in the air, quick-sear shrimp and toss mushrooms into the mouths of willing diners — but in private backyards, on a portable grill, and far from the usual environs of a Japanese hibachi house.

In the time of COVID and social distancing, hibachi at home has become an explosive (and explosively quick-to-build) trend on Long Island, so much so that demand has begun to outstrip supply. Hence the word-of-mouth popularity of Chef Soy Sauce.

Turns out, Chef Soy Sauce is not a single person — instead, it's a phalanx of chefs — but for those with an itch for a private hibachi experience, there are a few other established restaurants, and at least one startup, who offer the same experience.

More to know

Defiant as ever about the coronavirus, President Donald Trump on Monday turned his first campaign rally since contracting COVID-19 into a full-throated defense of his handling of the pandemic that has killed 215,000 Americans.

A late-stage study of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine candidate has been paused while the company investigates whether a study participant's "unexplained illness" is related to the shot.

The NBA Finals are over, but bubble life will be an experience players remember. "It has been challenging to have a 48-hour 'Groundhog Day' pretty much throughout our whole time here," said Lakers guard Danny Green, a native of North Babylon.

A bold name in the world of soccer, Cristiano Ronaldo, has tested positive for the coronavirus, the Portuguese soccer federation said Tuesday.

Social Security recipients will get a modest 1.3% cost-of-living increase in 2021, but that might be small comfort amid coronavirus worries.

News for you

"How does this inspire joy?" When people enter her gift boutique, Joyful Treasures in Point Lookout, owner Laura Shockley, 45, says an instant sense of calm prevails. "They say things like, 'Ahh, it feels so relaxing in here,' or 'I walk in here and I feel like I'm taking a breath.'" That makes sense because years ago, Shockley abandoned her career as a high-powered attorney at a large Long Island firm to take a breath of her own and enter what she calls "her karmic life" as a yoga and meditation instructor. She opened Point Lookout Yoga and Wellness Studio some five years ago, and in June she debuted her gift shop in a storefront located next door to her studio.

Soul food spot to bring its flavors to Massapequa. Twimonisha Mason opened her Amityville restaurant in 2017 to offer delicious soul food at a place that paid homage to her late mother. Business has gone well at Winnie's International Takeout this year, thanks in part to changes brought about by the pandemic, so Mason said she will open a second location in Massapequa by January. Winsome "Winnie" Alexander was a Jamaican immigrant who could throw down in the kitchen with flavorful foods from her homeland, her daughter said.

Later this week, live. How can you safely navigate holiday festivities in the age of COVID-19? Join our talk Wednesday at noon. Coming up Thursday at noon: an expert panel on voting. See the Newsday Live page.

Plus: Are you looking for some not-so-spooky Halloween events to take your kids to? Here are some options for younger revelers.

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Commentary

COVID-19 won't bring back the mobile American. Americans, once known for their propensity to move from state to state, have largely grown averse to such change, Peter R. Orszag writes for Bloomberg Opinion.

It may be true that the pandemic has brought a temporary reversal. When new official statistics are released in November, they may show a significant uptick in the share of people who moved in 2020. But any such increase will probably turn out to be an anomaly. After COVID-19, ongoing declines in geographic mobility will return.

In the 1950s and '60s, about 20% of Americans moved each year. Over the past couple decades, however, that share has fallen steadily. In 2018-19, it dropped below 10% for the first time since 1947, when the data begin. The reasons for this have to do with an aging population, people's growing emotional attachment to their homes, and a decline in the number of people changing jobs.

This year is different. Some 22% of American adults either moved, had someone new move into their residence, or know someone who moved because of the pandemic, a Pew Research Center survey suggests. Those who have moved tend to be young; 18-29-year-olds are more than four times as likely to move as people aged 45 to 64. Much of the movement appears to have been away from urban centers and into suburbs, and this is consistent with real estate trends showing substantial new demand for housing outside cities.

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