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None ‘two’ soon; Restaurants reopen for sidewalk dining

Don’t try telling New Yorkers, “It’s just a phase.”

The much-awaited phase two of the city’s reopening thankfully went into effect on Monday. Locals cooped up for the past three months finally can now sit down and be served a bite to eat — outside only, though.

Customers wait to enter the Midtown Barber Shop on E. 23rd St. (Photo by © Jefferson Siegel)

And there are some regulations to be followed.

For starters, tables must be 6 feet apart. Customers must keep their face masks on until seated, then can take them off. Waitstaff, though, must keep their masks on all the time.

Unlike the takeout alcohol rule, you don’t have to order food if you just want to sit down at a table and have an alcoholic beverage.

You are allowed to go inside a restaurant, but only for things like using the restroom and paying.

A dining area in a parking space on First Ave. at E. 13th St. This layout is allowed under the current phase-two regulations. Back in 2011, though, this sort of “pop-up seating” for cafes was considered dangerous by Community Board 2, which voted to deny five out of six applications for them in Greenwich Village and Soho. (Photo by © Jefferson Siegel)
Sidewalk seating and tables at the ready — though not filled — at the Orion Diner & Grill (formerly Cosmo’s Diner) on E. 23rd St. and Second Ave. (Photo by © Jefferson Siegel)

It seemed, however, that phase two got off to a bit of a slow start, in terms of eateries. Crowds did not appear to be going gangbusters for the new sidewalk seating, at least not at first.

Barbershops also were allowed back open on Monday, while retail stores can now allow customers inside, though in a controlled manner.

Dining al fresco at the Joe’s Pizza on 14th St. at Third Ave. (Photo by © Jefferson Siegel)

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