Southold plans conference calls with business community as Phase 2 of reopening begins

With Long Island expected to reach Phase 2 of the four-part New York Forward reopening plan Wednesday, local officials are looking to work closely with small businesses reeling in the wake of the shutdown imposed by the COVID-19 outbreak.

“These have been difficult times and the sacrifices and the hardships have been felt by the entire community,” Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell said in a message posted to the town’s Facebook page Friday. “But we have seen a particular strain on our business community: financial loss, tremendous burdens and uncertainty.”

In his update, the supervisor offered a message of optimism, noting that while Phase 1 was “still restrictive, it was a start.”

Phase 2 includes personal services like salons and barber shops, retail stores, auto and real estate sales and will also allow for restaurants to offer outdoor dining.

Mr. Russell said the State Liquor Authority and county Department of Health have both agreed to waive certain review requirements to allow outdoor dining.

Restaurants in Southold must apply for a local permit and meet a set of criteria in order to operate outdoors.

“We have created a streamlined process for quick review and approval,” the supervisor said.

Town officials are creating an email list by industry type to help disseminate reopening information swiftly. The supervisor encouraged other business owners to get in touch with his office and said he would be arranging a series of conference calls with each industry soon.

The first one will be held Tuesday, June 9 at 3 p.m. with local restaurant owners, the supervisor said, to discuss reopening and questions about outdoor dining. Mr. Russell said Sunday that they’re focusing on restaurants first “because of their immediate need to make fundamental changes” to their operations.

Calls will be scheduled with members of other industries and details will be announced soon, officials said.

“Please view us as your partner as we work together to restore the economy of Southold,” Mr. Russell said. “We look forward to the day when all of our businesses can put out their ‘open for business’ signs again.”

For more information and details about participating in the conference call, contact the supervisor’s office at 631-765-1889.