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Movie theaters are back, with precautions

LI's movie theaters reopen, 7 months after closure

Large multiplexes and small mom-and-pop cinemas got back to screening new releases, classic movies and old favorites as theatergoers returned Friday.

The reopening comes after cinemas across the state closed in mid-March, then watched as places like restaurants, bowling alleys and gyms gradually reopened under Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s phased plan. It was only last Saturday that Cuomo announced guidelines for movie theaters to reopen.

They're limited to 25% capacity and no more than 50 people per screen, assigned seating and social distancing between parties, and wearing masks at all times except when seated eating or drinking.

But some sense of normalcy returned as the smell of fresh popcorn filled the lobby of Regal Cinemas in Deer Park. Patrons entered the venue with a cashless concession stand, shuttered video games, and signs on floors and walls urging social distance.

Marcy Sandoval, of Babylon Village, said she’s been waiting for this day since March and was comfortable with the new precautions.

"I’m really excited," Sandoval said. "Last night was like Christmas Eve. I have been watching and waiting for a long time."

The number of new positives reported today: 101 in Nassau, 91 in Suffolk, 571 in New York City and 1,637 statewide.

LIU students can return for in-person instruction next month

LIU Post plans to reopen for in-person instruction on Nov. 1 after two weeks of remote instruction to stem an outbreak on campus.

There will be added safety measures, including surveillance testing of up to 20% of the student body and staff each week, tests of wastewater for signs of the virus and temperature checks on campus.

At least 64 positives were reported over the past two weeks at the Brookville campus, and 213 students are in quarantine after exposures to infected students, according to state and school dashboards.

LIU President Kimberly A. Cline released letters to faculty and students late Thursday announcing the changes, the same day faculty released a statement announcing its vote to censure Cline over her handling of the pandemic response. Read more.

Cuomo: 3 LI restaurants get liquor licenses suspended for virus violations

State officials have suspended the liquor licenses of 21 restaurants and bars, including three on Long Island.

That included a Patchogue restaurant after it hosted an event that attracted up to 300 people, most of them not wearing masks, Cuomo said Friday.

The event at an "unlicensed outdoor area" of the Pine Grove Inn on Oct. 2 drew between 200 and 300 people. Most of the people ignored social distancing rules and walked around with open containers, and the restaurant’s owner and several members of the waitstaff did not wear facial coverings, he said.

State officials also suspended the liquor licenses of Leonard's of Great Neck and D'Ambiance in Baldwin.

Meanwhile, Riverhead Central School District students went to remote learning Friday after several transportation employees tested positive for COVID-19, officials said.

Girl Scout honors hospital workers — including her mom

Sara Lombardi, 16, wanted to do something to thank those who fought the pandemic — and to remember the lives lost to it.

So as the basis of her Gold Award project for Girl Scouts, she decided to plant a commemorative garden to honor them.

Lombardi, of Malverne, started a grassroots campaign that raised more than $1,000 to fund a garden at St. Francis Hospital in Roslyn, where her mother is a physician assistant.

"I had volunteered there in 2019," she said of St. Francis. "It was an amazing experience. But with COVID, St. Francis, they really took the brunt of it. Most of the hospital was dedicated to treating COVID patients for a very long time — especially back in March, April, May. I thought this would be an amazing place to start this, to start a commemorative garden like this."

More to know

The FDA has approved the first drug to treat COVID-19: remdesivir, an antiviral medicine.

Santa Claus won't be coming to Macy's this year at its flagship New York store because of the coronavirus.

Long Island home prices hit new highs, the supply of listings plummeted and bidding wars broke out as the real estate market came back to life this summer after the COVID-19 shutdown.

New jobless claims on Long Island last week fell below 5,000 for the first time since the pandemic began, state data released Thursday shows.

News for you

A Halloween drive-by in your neighborhood. For some on Long Island, decorating for Halloween goes to a new level. Many homes are covered in Halloween displays and are worth a drive-by. Here are a few. And if you're in Long Beach, the city is hosting its first-ever drive-through Halloween house and balcony decorating contest starting Friday. Check it out.

A virtual concert from Amityville. Blues guitarist Kerry Kearney will perform a virtual streaming concert on Tuesday. It will take place at The Warehouse in Amityville. Find out more and get tickets.

Using branded promotional products to stay visible. Many businesses are using branded promotional products and gifts as a way to connect with customers and recognize employees during the pandemic. Read more about it.

Film festival to screen before a live audience. The New York Long Island Film Festival is moving forward with its plans to show films to live audiences. The event will run this weekend at the Lindenhurst Moose Lodge and promises social distancing.

A new boutique because of a pandemic. Celebrity wedding planner Michael Russo's gigs got canceled when the pandemic hit. So he decided to launch a boutique — MADE by Michael Russo, which opened this month in Cold Spring Harbor. Check it out.

Plus: Trying to vote early this weekend? Take a look at what you need to know about the process and the pandemic protocol while you're there.

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Commentary

With mask and gloves, it's still a privilege to vote. Howard Lev, of East Meadow, writes in an essay for Newsday: I was a senior in high school in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, when my social studies teacher convinced me and my classmates who were 18 years old to register to vote.

Our group met with representatives from the Board of Elections to register to vote, and we were trained to register our classmates. We were seated at a table in the school cafeteria and registered seniors who were of age.

My parents taught me voting was important. As a child I remember going with them to the elementary school where they voted. My earliest election recollection was John Kennedy versus Richard Nixon. My mom, who used a wheelchair because of polio, was able to vote by absentee ballot when going to the school became too difficult. I continued to accompany my dad, going inside the gray metal voting machine with him. I helped pull the big red handle to close and open the curtain. In later years, when my dad drove to the polling place, he offered to drive our neighbors. …

Voting has changed through the years. Optical-scanning machines replaced the gray metal voting machines. The binders that had the history of my signatures have been replaced as I sign in electronically with a stylus on a tablet.

Although I voted by mail for the school board and budget, my family walked with me to our local elementary school wearing our masks and gloves and voted in person in the June 23 primary. On Nov. 3, l will vote in person with a mask and gloves, receive my "I Voted Today" sticker, and hopefully, the PTA will have its bake sale.

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