Reopen Long Island: Businesses prepare for phase one reopening


LONG ISLAND (WABC) — New York Governor Andrew Cuomo gave Long Island the green light to enter phase one of reopening Wednesday.

Construction, agriculture, fishing, hunting, wholesale trade and manufacturing can resume operations.

For retail businesses, phase one means they can do curbside or in-store pickup or drop off.

“Oh my gosh, I can’t wait,” said Tara Farrell, the owner of Out of the Blue Unique Accessories in Sayville.

The owner of Hammer & Stain in Sayville, Sandra Bernius, said she has been shipping art kits to buyers, but has been flying through her paint inventory in order to make sure customers have all the desired paints.

“Tomorrow means for us we can reopen this section,” she said. “People can kind of come in see something that they like. We’ll get the paints for them.”

Kate Verbarg, the owner of Sayville Chocolatier, said she has been open the past few weeks, but is hoping that phase one will increase foot traffic on Main Street and people will stop at her store to pick up chocolates. Her father created a wooden sliding door window for the front entrance.

“You can just give us a little knock – tell us what you want,” she said.

Hema Sonkiya, the owner of Guru’s in Sayville, said she’s looking forward to seeing her customers.

“It’s good because our customers they are a family,” she said. “They are really waiting to see us.”

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Dominique Maciejka, who owns Paper Doll Vintage Boutique in Sayville, said she’s excited to enter phase one, so she can attempt to make a little more money in order to pay her bills which keep coming.

“We’ve taken all the precautions – wear masks, wear gloves, sanitize merchandise, steam any of the vintage clothing,” she said.

Maciejka, along with many small business owners in Sayville, gathered Tuesday morning to urge the governor to allow more stores to open more quickly.

“We have to turn a profit,” said Eileen Tyznar, President of the Greater Sayville Chamber of Commerce. “We have to turn it quickly. We are ready to go. We need to go.”

Carol Seitz, the head of the Bayport-Blue Point Chamber of Commerce, said it isn’t fair that big retail stores have been open throughout the coronavirus pandemic and small businesses have been forced to close. She called upon the governor to let Main Street businesses open now.

“If we don’t do this Governor Cuomo, you’re going to lose a lot of businesses in Suffolk County,” Seitz said.

The owner of Island Salt and Spa in Sayville is hoping she will be able to reopen under phase two.

Michelle Flecken has purchased plexiglass partitions for the seating area in her spa.

“We can effectively open up and we have every precaution in place,” she said.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said he understands the urgency small businesses are feeling.

“We need to do more,” Bellone said. “We need to move as quickly as we can, while keeping safety in mind.”

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