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As daily life resumes during COVID, trust is key to being safe in businesses, panel says

People are going out more, but COVID is

People are going out more, but COVID is still here. How can businesses and their customers safely resume more normal activity without causing another surge in cases? Panelists include Dr. Chid Iloabachie, Associate Chairperson, Department of Emergency Medicine at Long Island Jewish Valley Stream; and Eric Alexander, Founder of the LI Main Street Alliance. Sign up for COVID-19 text alerts at

The head of an organization representing dozens of Long Island downtowns urged against directly confronting a fellow bar or restaurant patron for failing to social distance or wear a face mask.

Except in egregious cases, said the head of the LI Main Street Alliance, Eric Alexander, it’s better to speak directly with the establishment's management privately than to initiate a direct confrontation.

"I would encourage people not to be their own judge, jury and executioner on this stuff," Alexander, the Alliance founder, said Wednesday during a Newsday Live webinar.

Alexander was responding to a question about how to get fellow patrons to comply with pandemic regulations. He said to reconsider whether it’s worth it to take to social media to complain.

"Check your emotions too on this, before you go on social media or mom’s group or something and freak out on everybody," he said.

He added: "The key is to kind of check yourself a little bit too because, again, businesses need to operate, and I’m sure a large swath of Long Islanders want to be out — for their mental health and others’ ... we gotta build trust in this, with each other."

He made his remarks during Newsday's regular online series covering life during the pandemic and beyond. Associate editor Joye Brown and economics writer James T. Madore moderated the discussion.

Dr. Chid Iloabachie, associate chairman of the department of emergency medicine at Long Island Jewish Valley Stream, speaking in response to a question about encouraging children to remain masked during a trip, suggested doing a test-run ahead of time.

"Have a day when you’re playing outside in your yard or in the local park, and have the masks on there, and get them used to playing and running and engaging with one another with their masks on," he said. "Normalize it for them."