As East Meadow enters the sixth month of the coronavirus pandemic, many businesses are reopening or offering their services in new ways to abide by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s social-distancing guidelines.
To celebrate that progress, the East Meadow Chamber of Commerce is offering residents and business owners a chance to mingle at a “reopening festival” on Aug. 15 at the East Meadow baseball fields on Merrick Avenue.
“It’s time for us to get out of our doldrums and into what is the new normal,” said Ted Rosenthal, co-chair of a chamber committee dedicated to post-pandemic efforts.
“We keep saying what we can’t do because of the pandemic,” Rosenthal said. “But the reality is that we have to find a way to do what we can.”
Rosenthal, founder of the law firm Rosenthal, Curry & Kranz, and Jim Skinner, owner of A&C Pest Management, are co-chairing the committee, which also includes Skinner’s son James, also of A&C, and Richie Krug Jr. and Tom and Lyndsey Gallagher, all of Century 21 American Homes.
The committee’s goal is to help businesses reopen or offer their services in any possible way, and generate excitement among East Meadow residents about patronizing such businesses.
To encourage residents to do so, the organization will also give out $5,000 in cash rewards. Anyone who patronizes member businesses will receive five points for every $20 they spend, and points can be redeemed for a chance to win up to $600.
“Everyone on the committee is working vigorously and selflessly to help guide our businesses,” Rosenthal said. “It’s truly an honor to be a part of the chamber and all that they do.”
On Aug. 15, guests will meet at Veterans Memorial Park in East Meadow for a car parade at 5 p.m. The Fire Department will lead the procession north on East Meadow Avenue, west on Front Street and north on Merrick Avenue, where it will end at the baseball fields.
The chamber will set up “villages,” as Rosenthal called them, areas where business owners will have booths to discuss or display their services.
“We’re very cognizant of social distancing,” Rosenthal said, noting that all guests will be required to wear masks, and no more than 50 people will be permitted in a village at a time.
The festival will run for three hours, and will include a drive-in showing of the 2019 live-action remake of Disney’s “The Lion King,” presented by the Farming-dale-based entertainment company DJUSA.
There will also be entertainment provided by Westbury’s Zicana World, and raffle tickets will be sold for $2 each for a chance to win a $100 gift card to Stew Leonard’s grocery store.
“It’s going to be a celebration of East Meadow and all of its businesses,” Rosenthal said, adding that it will be a chance for residents to see which businesses are still offering services, even if they’re not at their usual capacity.
Long Island entered Phase 4 of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s economic reopening plan on July 8, which included museums, universities and malls. This was slated as the last phase of reopening, but fitness centers, movie theaters and some entertainment venues are still shuttered, and it is still unclear when they will be permitted to open again.
“It’s been very difficult for them,” Rosenthal said. “Some have been going to parks or parking lots, but there are not a lot of alternatives.”
Throughout the pandemic, chamber board Chairman Frank Camarano Jr. has transitioned his business from World Gym, on East Meadow Avenue, to Evolve Health & Fitness. Although under a new name and with some renovations, the fitness center is under the same ownership and management.
East Meadow’s AB Fitness Center recently opened a new gym in Massapequa. While both are closed, the Massapequa location has enough space in its parking lot for patrons to exercise at a distance. Owner Anthony Bevilacqua set up a tent and some equipment in an outdoor training section that he dubbed the Muscle Pit.
“We are back in business,” Bevilacqua said in a video to clients while giving a tour of the new area. “So if you’re ready to get your body back and lose your quarantine 15 . . . let’s get started.”
Business owners like Camarano and Bevilacqua will be on site to talk with residents at the chamber’s reopening festival. Tickets are $27 for a single car or $36 for two cars, and VIP tickets, which include front-row spots for the movie, are $40.50 and only sold by single car. To purchase tickets, go to https://bit.ly/2PqavwQ.