Outdoor dining begins in Floral Park

Dan Offner

In an effort to help local restaurants, the Village of Floral Park will temporarily permit outdoor dining in certain sections of the village’s parking lots, including lots at Woodbine Court, Violet Avenue and Spooner Street, and the village’s right of way between Atlantic Avenue and Vernon Street.

The announcement follows a decision by the Board of Trustees on  June 16 to approve an outdoor dining plan in the village as part of phase two of the state’s plans to reopen during the coronavirus pandemic.

“The Village of Floral Park is implementing outdoor dining plans to support our local restaurants as they are gradually allowed to re-open,” Mayor Dominick Longobardi said in a recent email. “This plan is evolving as we receive guidance from the state as to what is permitted moving forward.”

The village Building Department issued regulations which grant temporary permission for certain restaurants to provide outdoor dining on the condition they have their own private space where they can adequately relocate tables and chairs following six feet social distancing requirements.

However, according to Longobardi, since most restaurants in the village do not have their own private space, the village will temporarily permit dining in certain sections of its parking lots, to aid local restaurants as they gradually reopen.

“Like everything with this pandemic, how this evolves will change often. But we hope you will bear with us and be supportive of our local restaurants as we move forward,” Longobardi said. “We realize that these plans do not help all restaurants in all sections of the Village. Other plans for additional outdoor dining are being explored and hopefully will come to fruition shortly.”

For the first phase of Floral Park’s outdoor dining plans, seating will be limited to tables and seats available for takeout service only. That means no waiter or waitress table service will be provided. As part of the process, the village has closed off relatively small portions of parking at the Woodbine Court, Violent Avenue and Spooner Street municipal lots.

The second phase, which Longobardi said will likely commence sometime this week, will section off a portion of the municipal lots for table service. To further accommodate restaurants, many of which will not qualify for the state’s requirements, the village will keep a portion of its parking lots available for takeout service only. They also plan to place seating and tables in open areas such as Lions and Rotary Park.

In the evening hours, parking will be provided by several lots that are underutilized at night, including the parking lot under the Long Island Rail Road and the Carlton lot by Village Hall.

“This may require a slightly longer than usual walk for some, but you should still be able to park fairly close to your favorite restaurants. Or, better yet, take a nice long walk from home on a summer night to an evening out in the village,” Longobardi said.

Restaurants on Long Island are still in the process of implementing phase two of Gov. Cuomo’s four-phase plan to reopen New York amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Once it is permitted, as part of phase three, restaurants, including those with their own outdoor space, will be subject to strict limitations on the number of people allowed to dine indoors. Mandatory requirements will limit customer capacity to no more than 50 percent of the maximum occupancy and a minimum distance of six feet between tables.

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