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Bars and restaurants throughout New York, including on Long Island, can now operate without a curfew for the first time since the Covid-19 restriction went into place more than a year ago.

The curfews had been pushed from 10 p.m. to midnight earlier this year. Then, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that outdoor dining could remain open later beginning May 17 and indoor dining sans curfew starting May 31.

“Like every other milestone of our reopening, the end of curfew for indoor dining is the result of New Yorkers banding together, practicing safety precautions and getting vaccinated, so we can defeat the virus and work our way towards a new normal,” Cuomo said. “Our reopening approach has always been data-based and if we want to stay on our current trajectory, we need to remain vigilant across the board, especially when it comes to indoor activities.”

Lifting the restaurant curfew comes as New York’s Covid-19 positivity rate drops to a new low of .65 percent on a 7-day average. Long Island’s positivity rate, on the same 7-day average, is .59 percent.

Bar owners on the Island are praising the return of late nights and say it will benefit everyone: their business, their workers, and their patrons. John T. Amaruso, owner of Bourbon & Brews in Merrick, says that he lost about 120 hours of business per month during the pandemic and is grateful to have them back. The bar is now open until 4 a.m. daily.

“It tells the guests they won’t be rushed out mid-dinner if they show up a little late,” he says. “It also gives an opportunity for those who work late hours to still enjoy a meal or a drink when they get off work.”

Maria Cassano, owner of American Beauty in Massapequa and Bellmore, says both the capacity limit and curfews being lifted are a huge help for business because the establishments can hold events again. She hopes to start hosting community organizations’ fundraisers at the Bellmore location.

“The big thing, too, is we have those later seatings when people have those later dinners and stay for a cocktail or dessert,” she says. “We’re seeing faces we haven’t seen in a year. We missed our customers. It’s really great.”

For more food and drink coverage, visit longislandpress.com/category/food-drink.

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