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As Regions Reopen After COVID Closures, Tri-State Officials Worry Residents Are Letting Their Guards Down Too Early

ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- As more regions move past Phase 1 of reopening, there's concern residents in some areas are letting their guards down too early.

At the Dirty Taco in Rockville Centre, Long Island, a rush of patrons eagerly packed the limited outdoor seating Wednesday, embracing activities like dining and retail, finally allowed under Phase 2 of reopening.

"It feels exhilarating, it does," employee AnnMarie Cataldo said.

"Definitely a long time coming, it feels so good to be out. I feel free. I feel like I just got out of jail," one man said.

RELATED STORY: On Day Long Island Enters Phase 2 Reopening, East End Businesses Say They're Ready For Phase 4

While many rejoiced over this critical step forward on Long Island, tri-state officials are concerned other areas that haven't hit the same benchmarks are jumping the gun.

In Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey, hundreds gathered for a pop-up party Tuesday with no social distancing.

"At the heart of the matter yesterday, we had a bunch of disrespectful young people looking for a good time and not caring at all how they acted in the process," Mayor Paul Kanitra said in a video posted to Facebook.

Crowds were also seen letting their guard down in Hell's Kitchen.

An impromptu block party happened Sunday evening without a mask in sight.

"This is pretty surprising actually," one man said.

"People should be using discretion, being outside in a pandemic," Lee Golodny, of Hell's Kitchen, said.


Doctors say the scenes are so alarming, they're worried about the intensity of a second wave, CBS2's Christina Fan reports.

While gatherings outdoors are a better alternative than indoors, any large crowd is still considered unsafe.

"If a place that you're going to looks particularly crowded, you may want to step back. That may not be a circumstance you want to enter into. And think about having a plan B or plan C, as you plan outdoor activities going forward," said Dr. Louis Morledge, an internist at Lenox Hill Hospital NYC.

Health officials say just because certain activities are allowed, you don't have to engage in them. If you do go to a recreational setting, pick one close to your home so you don't have to make any extra stops.

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