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What can we Expect in Long Island’s Reopening in the Coming Weeks?

By: Emily Sobel

Most days, Long Island residents spend their late morning hours tuning in to the local news, hoping to hear Governor Cuomo announce that he will re-open the New York economy. Our dreams of getting back to a “new normal” are beginning to feel closer, yet there is still so much that is unknown. What will our future economy look like? When can we expect to dine-in at restaurants, shop at boutiques, and support our favorite local community businesses? Will we feel safe?

According to The National Restaurant Association, the restaurant industry lost approximately $80 billion through April and could lose $240 billion by the end of the year. Quick strategies need to be in place in order to sustain business with the hopes of eventually turning a profit. Thus far, restaurants have worked hard to offer take-out, curbside, and delivery, all while wearing masks and gloves. How will they move towards the next steps post-pandemic, so that patrons will feel safe?

US restaurants are planning to follow guidelines and procedures set in place by restaurants in Asia including wider spacing between tables, customer temperature checks, disposable menus and masked wait staff. As Starbucks plans to reopen 85% of its U.S. coffee shops in the coming weeks, CEO Kevin Johnson stated that they will operate using cashless payments and contactless and curbside pickup. Chick-Fil-A is preparing by installing plexiglass partitions at its front counters, adding hand sanitizer stations, and adding floor decals to distance customers from one another. Shake Shack’s CEO Randy Garutti shared that they will be employing fewer cashiers and installing self-order kiosks inside the burger chain’s locations. Additionally, they are planning for drive-thru lanes and pick-up windows.

Similarly, retailers are trying to figure out how to re-open safely in the coming weeks and months. According to a survey by First Insight, a retail analytics company, sixty-five percent of women said they will not feel safe trying on clothes in dressing rooms. Retailers are planning new strategies to keep their employers and consumers safe. Macy’s, Kohl’s, and The Gap are closing most fitting rooms and holding all merchandise tried on or returned for 24-48 hours. Other options, such as a sanitizing system to clean garments within one hour, are being explored as well. Smaller “mom and pop” clothing boutiques are planning to book private appointments, offer the ability to purchase through Facetime or text, and even add delivery services.

Both restaurants and retailers will shortly be defining the “new normal” as we open up our Long Island, New York economy. Consumers will be eager to shop and dine in their favorite establishments, but now under new safety guidelines. It will certainly be interesting to see the creative ways in which businesses will adapt and change in our post-pandemic future.

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