President to recognize nurse from LI

Nurse Sandra Lindsay after she was inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine...

Nurse Sandra Lindsay after she was inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, on Dec. 14, 2020, in Queens. Credit: POOL/AFP via Getty Images/MARK LENNIHAN

Biden was to honor Sandra Lindsay on Friday as an "Outstanding American by Choice," a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services program that recognizes citizens who have been naturalized.

Lindsay, a nurse who lives in Port Washington, received her first Pfizer-BioNTech shot Dec. 15, 2020, garnering national and worldwide attention as the United States began its fight to turn back the deadly virus through vaccinations.

Meanwhile, indicators of the virus continued to be low across Long Island and the state. The seven-day average for positivity in test results was 0.48% statewide, 0.43% on Long Island and 0.54% in New York City. Those numbers were slight increases over the last few days.

Throughout the state, a total of four people died on Thursday of causes linked to the virus. One of the fatalities was in Nassau.

"As far as we've come with the COVID beast, it is important to remember our fight is not over," Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in a statement. "The best weapon we have is the vaccine — it is safe, effective and free."

The number of new positives reported today: 39 in Nassau, 33 in Suffolk, 263 in New York City and 506 statewide.

This chart shows the percentages of Long Islanders who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and those who have been fully vaccinated.

Long Island vaccination rates.

Long Island vaccination rates.

Search a map of new cases and view charts showing the latest local trends in vaccinations, testing, hospitalizations, deaths and more.

State extends prohibitions against penalties for COVID-related work absences

New York is joining several other states and municipalities that have extended prohibitions against employers penalizing workers for COVID-19-related absences.

Cuomo signed legislation on Thursday barring public employers from firing or otherwise disciplining workers for using sick leave or other time off to quarantine, seek medical care, or for other absences connected to the coronavirus.

Other places that passed anti-retaliation laws, enacted ordinances or issued orders related to the pandemic and employment include Colorado, New Jersey, Michigan and Chicago.

Speaking of the legislation he signed, Cuomo said in a news release: "No one should have to suffer a penalty for missing work because of COVID, and under this new law, every public employee in our state will get the protection they deserve — so they don't have to face unfair consequences for doing what was necessary to protect themselves and their loved ones."

The state previously guaranteed paid leave for those under precautionary or mandatory quarantine related to COVID-19, as well as mandated time off from work to go get inoculated against the coronavirus.

Chicken spots and coffee shop chains booming on LI

General assistant Meaghan Minogue works the counter at Gregorys Coffee...

General assistant Meaghan Minogue works the counter at Gregorys Coffee in Melville on July 1. Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

About two years ago, Gregorys Coffee decided to venture out of the city to open suburban locations. At that point, the small Manhattan-based chain’s shops were mostly among office buildings whose caffeine-craving business professionals were the bulk of the customers.

Opening its first Long Island coffee shops this year — in Deer Park and Melville — was eye-opening, Gregorys Coffee founder Greg Zamfotis said.

Not only are sales at the Long Island stores 25% higher than projected, but the Melville shop is the bestselling of the chain’s 33, due in part to many New York City customers who have not returned to working in their offices because of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.

"I think, on Long Island, people live and work there. And there’s a much more robust residential community," said Zamfotis, who is in lease negotiations to open four more Gregorys Coffee shops on Long Island within the next 18 months.

Long Island’s high taxes and rent are barriers to entry for many businesses, but its demographics — high-income consumers willing to spend money at restaurants — are boding well these days for coffee shops and casual chicken restaurants, both of which are springing up in high numbers in the area, real estate and restaurant experts said.

Read more in this story from Newsday's Tory N. Parrish.

Nassau officials: Major crime is down while gunshot incidents are up

Major crimes dropped 10.5% since last year in areas Nassau police patrol, according to top county officials, who also said an exception to the trend was a 39% increase in episodes of gunshots fired.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder gathered with police personnel at the department's mounted unit stable in Eisenhower Park to call attention to statistics they said included double-digit percentage decreases in homicides, grand larcenies, burglaries and stolen vehicles.

"We will do everything we can and put whatever resources necessary out there to make sure that we are keeping our community safe. And a big part of that is community engagement," Curran said before speaking of a recent addition of eight "problem-oriented police officers" to local precincts.

In 2020, which Ryder called "an odd year" with people confined to their homes amid the pandemic, there were 68 incidents of gunshots being fired compared to 95 so far in 2021.

See the breakdown by different crimes in this story Bridget Murphy.

More to know

The deadline has been extended to July 23 for municipalities, states and nonprofits to apply for federal funding to help small businesses recover from the pandemic, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced on Thursday.

The clock’s ticking for employers to comply with new mandatory health and safety requirements created by the NY HERO Act in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

America’s employers added 850,000 jobs in June, well above the average of the previous three months and a sign that companies may be having an easier time finding enough workers to fill open jobs.

News for you

Omakase (chef's choice of sushi) at Umami in Huntington.

Omakase (chef's choice of sushi) at Umami in Huntington. Credit: Newsday/Erica Marcus

Try omakase at these restaurants. Of all the indoor dining experiences we lost during the pandemic, our food critic Erica Marcus missed omakase the most. It's a style of sushi service where the chef creates the menu based on which fish are freshest and most enticing that day. You can eat omakase at a table — and I suppose that table could be outdoors — but part of the fun is sitting at the sushi bar, watching the chef create the meal and explain to you exactly what he’s doing and why. Quite a few Japanese restaurants have not yet returned to indoor dining, but here are three fine ones that offer omakase.

Find your beach this summer. Whether you want to swim, sunbathe or play along miles of fine, white sand or find a quiet spot to surf, fish or look for wildlife, use our guide to Long Island beaches to find the right one for you this holiday weekend and throughout the summer.

A new Fire Island eatery. Longtime fans of Kismet’s Surf’s Out were stunned when the bar-eatery announced its closure earlier this year, but hope springs eternal. Frank Bragaglia (and company) of Babylon’s The Brixton bought Surf’s Out and frantically transformed it in time for a Memorial Day weekend grand opening. Learn more about the new place, re-christened Dive.

Plus: Whether you want to learn more about the Delta variant, what to expect when you return to the office or need tips for buying a home in Long Island's hot market, get expert advice from local experts by catching up on these Newsday Live webinars.


Beach goers hit the sand at Gilgo Beach on June...

Beach goers hit the sand at Gilgo Beach on June 28. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Progress against COVID-19 offers hope and warnings about the future. Trudy Rubin writes for The Philadelphia Inquirer: This is an exceedingly strange July 4th holiday, both exhilarating and scary.

The exhilaration stems, of course, from the liberation from COVID-19 that a majority of Americans are feeling. The statistics are startling and impressive.

As of June 30, 54% of all Americans, including those under 18, had received at least one shot, and 46% were fully vaccinated, according to Our World in Data. There were 13,683 new U.S. cases this June 30 compared with 48,389 on June 30, 2020, and 300,777 on Jan. 8 — and the death rate keeps shrinking.

So, vaccinated or not, many families across the country were headed this weekend for crowded beaches, and for mass events, with get-out-of-jail enthusiasm. I’ll be taking my grandson and his parents to his much-missed IHOP for pancakes. Then, for the first time in 15 months, we’ll visit the Camden Aquarium.

The scary part of this holiday, however, is that the uber-contagious Delta coronavirus variant lurks in the background. Southern states with low vaccination rates are vulnerable to a resurgence of sickness. Meantime, poorer countries lack vaccine, although President Joe Biden is pushing allied democracies to help supply them, with one billion doses pledged so far. Much more is needed, or new virus variants could travel here.

So the message of America’s fight to curb COVID-19, as we celebrate Independence Day, is twofold. Continue reading

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