'This Is A Really Big Deal': Long Island Enters Phase 2 Of Its Reopening

Capitol Barbershop in Babylon
Photo credit Sophia Hall/WCBS 880

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. (WCBS 880) — Big changes are coming to Long Island as Nassau and Suffolk counties move into Phase 2 of reopening.

Residents can now go to the office, shop inside a store, dine outside at a restaurant, get a haircut and color, but no manicure, no facial, no massage.

"This is a really big deal," said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran. "People can go out to eat outside, retail shops are open, real estate businesses can open and this is a really good step forward for us."

Buildings have to limit capacity to 50%. Masks and social distance are a must.

In Port Washington, Jim Costello said he knows exactly what he wants to do.

"I hope to see my barber and my bartender when it opens. That's what I'm looking forward to," Costello said, adding that he hopes this is the start of an economic recovery. "Getting the country going, you know, it's unfortunate about what's going on around the country."

"Eating at restaurants will be really nice. We did a lot of cooking at home but it's time to get to a restaurant and mingle with some people also. get out and be normal. It's just about getting back to normal," said Rich, a construction worker.

Along Main Street in Port Washington salons appeared to be getting most of the business. One barbershop put cushy chairs outside for waiting patrons. Even the doggy groomer had a line out the door.

At Aria Salon, owner Gina Ascon has taken several precautions against coronavirus.

"We are checking their temperatures and then we are using disposable products, disposable gowns, towels. We don't make unnecessary conversation and the customers need to wear masks and gloves before they go in and also we check all the employees' temperature before starting work. Also, they did COVID-19 tests and then they have to repeat every 14 days also," she said.

In Wantagh, owner Tina Scarpantonio said the phone has been ringing all day long at Salon Scarpello. Stylists are wearing masks and face shields while seeing clients, social distancing is in practice, and every station is being sterilized and disinfected. She said for those who are not comfortable being inside the salon, they've designed an outdoor lounge where clients can have service done in the fresh air.

"This is better than the man landing on the moon," said one of the first clients to walk into the salon on Wednesday.

Curran did have some bad news to share with the good.

"Before the crisis hit businesses included in Phase 2 accounted for about 200,000 jobs a