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Long Island Entering Phase 2 of Re-Opening


The State has authorized Long Island to re-open under Phase 2. Many businesses, including restaurants and bars, will now be allowed to operate (albeit with  restrictions). More specifically, there will be no indoor seating however, outdoor dining will be permitted.

The Governor has confirmed these rules by Executive Order, which has also addressed the concerns businesses such as serving alcohol outside the four walls of their establishments. While the Governor has authorized this conditional re-opening, there are nevertheless significant issues regarding space utilization and compliance with current laws and rules.

As to space, the local municipalities have the authority to control the location of outside operations. In most instances, ithe restaurant and/or bar's outside operations must be contiguous to the building either in the front, back or sides. As in Rockville Centre, the Village is working with the restaurants to define the outside areas of operations. While this may seem simple, it rarely is. Outside dining must account for pedestrian traffic as well as not hinder automotive access or parking availability. Moreover, there must be a clear delineation of responsibilities regarding cleaning and maintaining the outside area.

As restaurants will certainly seek to utilize as much outdoor space as possible for outside dining, the possibility of conflict with the local municipality, neighbors, customers and competitors is almost inevitable.  Moreover, restaurants and bars must be careful to work within the delicate confines of the "new normal" rules and regulations in order to avoid having their licenses revoked by the health department. In addition, restaurants and bars that rent their spaces must carefully review their leases in order to confirm that their landlords have allowed them to utilize the outdoor space.

While the old adage "its easier to get forgiveness than permission&rdquo may be attractive to restaurants and bars, which have suffered extreme revenue shortages over the past few months, we highly recommend amicably working with the local municipalities, landlords, and neighbors while configuring outdoor dining. Our firm is constantly monitoring these new developments and we are here to assist our clients in their efforts to re-open in the "new normal."