Hamptons Restaurant Crowds May Force Phase 2 Reversal, Cuomo Warns

Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned Hamptons restaurant owners to enforce social distancing Sunday, June 14, 2020.

Restaurants and bars in the Hamptons that saw some of the most complaints of violations under phase two of the New York State reopening guidelines may lose their liquor license and trigger a regional shutdown, Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned Sunday.

The development comes as Long Island celebrated its first weekend of outdoor dining since March under phase two of reopening from the coronavirus shutdown. Phase two arrived in Nassau and Suffolk counties on Wednesday. Indoor dining is expected to return with limited capacity on June 24, when phase three is projected to start on LI.

“Enforce the law,” Cuomo told restaurants and local municipalities tasked with overseeing the social distancing mandates intended to prevent a second spike in coronavirus cases. “You have large gatherings that are in violation of the law. This will most probably lead to a spread of a virus.”

The governor told reporters during his daily COVID-19 news briefing that the state saw 25,000 complaints of the state’s reopening guidelines. Leading the way with the most complaints were establishments in Manhattan and the Hamptons, he said.

“There is a very real possibility that we would roll back the reopening in those areas,” he said.

Guidelines require outdoor tables be six feet apart, patrons wear masks before they’re seated, and workers wear masks.

“I haven’t heard any reports of non-compliance in the Hamptons,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said in response to the governor’s remarks. “We have been doing compliance from the very beginning and enforcing the state’s orders. I’ve coordinated with all local officials from the very beginning.”

He added that it’s possible some of the complaints were from people who misunderstood what constitutes a violation under phase two. Suffolk County police officials added that any restaurants where there was a complaint, management either resolved it before officers arrived or quickly fixed the issue when informed of the complaint. Restaurant owners don’t want to see a rollback either, officials said.

Cuomo noted that videos of large gatherings at restaurants were rampant across social media.

“Don’t make me come down there,” Cuomo tweeted Saturday in response to one video of a crowd outside of a Manhattan restaurant.

The governor warned that if the guidance is not followed and coronavirus cases begin to rise, the state will halt and possibly reverse the phased reopening plan in certain regions. Restaurants that don’t follow the license risk losing their liquor licenses, as state regulators are out doing inspections.

“Do your job and enforce the law,” he said. “If you do not and this continues, we will have no choice but to take state action ceasing the behavior.”

Related Story: How An Army of Contact Tracers Are Key To Long Island’s Reopening

For more coronavirus coverage, visit longislandpress.com/coronavirus

Sign up for Long Island Press’ email newsletters hereSign up for home delivery of Long Island Press here. Sign up for discounts by becoming a Long Island Press community partner here.