The restaurant bordering the Islip Town Hall parking lot to the east had never offered outdoor seating. But when Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state announced that the restriction to the restaurant …
The restaurant bordering the Islip Town Hall parking lot to the east had never offered outdoor seating. But when Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state announced that the restriction to the restaurant industry would be eased, Gus Tsiorvas, a manager at Oconee Diner, said they had to.
“When something is necessary in order to feed your family, you have no choice,” Tsiorvas said, continuing on to say that the transition to outdoor seating was rather seamless. “As soon as [Gov. Andrew] Cuomo came out and said we are allowed outside dining, that day, we started getting a permit for the tent from Town Hall. The town understands that we have been closed for three months.”
A white tent covers all the outdoor seating in the Oconee Diner parking lot, with a maximum capacity of 112 customers, or 28 tables of up to four. However, Tsiorvas said the setup is not optimal for employees.
“You have to come out through the back door of the kitchen. It is not easy for the runners to run from all the way in the kitchen to outside,” he said, adding that condiments as well as salt and pepper on the table must be replaced for the new guests for safety purposes.
Regarding the safety of everyone involved, everyone is required to wear a mask except when seated at their table, and each table is at least six feet apart. Free facemasks are offered to those who would like them or those who do not have masks. Hand sanitizer is also available. The menus are washed between uses, and the table is sanitized between uses, too.
Oconee Diner plans to open at 50 percent capacity inside when Phase 3 comes about.