ALBANY — Garage and yard sales are a go.
County Executive Dan McCoy said the state will allow sales, but with a 10-person limit, provisions to allow social distancing and if customers and hosts wear masks.
Also, during the daily meeting with the control room Wednesday afternoon, McCoy said there was some clarification on how restaurants can conduct outdoor dining.
Many restaurants are already utilizing tents in parking lots or on front walks. On Wednesday, the State Liquor Authority granted a uniform waiver allowing restaurants to serve food and alcohol on municipal owned property if streets or sidewalks can be closed down to allow more room to achieve social distance protocols. The SLA waiver also allows serving alcohol on other private property adjacent to or near the establishment. For example, if an owner wants to rent a lot to set up a tent for tables.
Bars and restaurants, though, do need to provide a seating diagram to the state showing how they will accomplish social distancing. It doesn’t need a formal approval, McCoy said, but it has to be on record to protect patrons and business owners.
Restaurants have been offering take out since mid-March, and were initially slated to offer in-house dining in Phase III. In a surprise move last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave restaurants the OK to offer outdoor dining provided they can accommodate social distancing protocols.
The eight-county Capital District is set to begin Phase III on Wednesday, June 17 at the latest. The numbers are such it could come sooner, and restaurants with indoor dining and personal care establishments like nail and tanning and tattoo parlors could open with safety protocols in place before that date.
Meanwhile, a woman in her 80s with underlying health conditions died from Wednesday to Thursday, bringing the total number of county coronavirus fatalities to 117.
On Thursday, there were 1,813 positive cases in Albany County with 469 under mandatory quarantine and 1,553 who tested positive and recovered. There are 13 residents in the hospital for a rate of .71, said County Executive Dan McCoy during his daily press briefing.
All but two of the 117 fatalities were older than 60 and all but two had underlying health issues.
Unlike Other states and countries that have seen a spike in the number of infections as they reopen businesses and people are otherwise beginning to engage in social activities, New York has not seen a significant number of new cases.
But, said Dr. Elizabeth Whalen, head of the Albany County Health Department, while the Capital District began Phase II on June 3 without a spoke, it doesn’t mean things are back to normal.
“The numbers are encouraging, but one thing I can say for certainty is, that despite their improvement, the numbers indicate that COVID-19 is still around and it is still incumbent upon all of us is to continue to protect ourselves,” she said. “The best strategy is the continued widespread use of testing. If you have symptoms, or if you have been exposed of if you have been in a high risk situation like a mass gathering please get tested. It is only through early identification, isolation of positive cases and quarantining of contacted individuals that we can continue to stop the spread.”