On a sunny Sunday afternoon, Jeff Strong enjoyed the weather and the good news that his four marinas are now open to boaters who want to enjoy the Peconic Bay.
On Saturday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, along with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, announced that marinas and boatyards can reopen for personal use.
“This is fantastic news for us,” said Mr. Strong, whose company owns three marinas in Mattituck and one in Southampton. “It allows us to get our tech and yard people back and working.”
In a news release, the three governors said that “boatyards and marine manufacturers will be allowed to open for personal use as long as strict social distancing and sanitization protocols are followed. Chartered watercraft services or rentals will not be allowed, and restaurant activity at these sites must be limited to take-out or delivery only, like anywhere else in the three states.”
Will Lieblien, who co-managers Port of Egypt with his cousin Yvonne, was overjoyed with the news. “This is very good, and a big relief,” he said. “We are at least one month behind, as our last day of work was March 19.”
He said private boat owners “are the bulk of our business. And what a better place to shelter in place than your boat.” He said, beginning tomorrow, 11 employees would return to work.
Separately, Gov. Cuomo said private golf courses would now be allowed to have players on them, provided certain rules are followed. His ruling does not apply to state or publicly owned courses.
Under the new guidelines, golfers must carry their own bags and the only employees allowed to work on the course would be those considered essential, such as maintenance workers.
The governors’ ruling on marinas was welcome to news to Mr. Strong, but also many of his employees who have been kept away from work. He said approximately 70 employees will now be welcomed back. He stressed all social distancing and cleanliness guidelines must be followed.
“We are delighted,” he said.
Marinas and golf courses in particular have been two businesses that seemed to straddle the line between essential and nonessential since the state’s mandate in March first closed down nonessential businesses. On April 9, the state added language on its website stating that marinas and golf courses could no longer operate to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Gov. Cuomo last week extended NY PAUSE, the executive order to close schools and nonessential businesses, to May 15.