LONG ISLAND (CBSNewYork) - Phase 2 reopening officially started Wednesday on Long Island.
But, CBS2's Jennifer McLogan reports that's far from acceptable on the east end, where business owners gathered to demand Gov. Andrew Cuomo let them move into Phase 4 now.
Seals are swimming but, with no ticket sales, money has dried up at the Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead.
The tourist attraction is among dozens on the east end that are ordered to remain closed until Phase 4.
"We can open in a controlled manner, we can limit our number of tickets sold online, we can control the one way flow through the facility," said Bryan DeLuca. "A touchless entry, staff wearing masks, meeting all the CDC guidelines."
Months into peak tourism season, summer-dependent businesses say they are on the brink of financial ruin and cannot wait.
"If we get much later in July and August, we are going to be in a zone that we can't come back from," said Discover the Hamptons CEO Glenn Vickers, II.
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Dozens of business owners gathered with a plea to Albany: Phase 4 needs to start now on the east end.
Marinas, beaches, vineyards, houses of worship, historical museums and east end malls submitted plans to limit and control crowds.
"While folks are on the east end, we don't want folks jammed into the beach or just open on streets, or certain parks, we want to get them in as many places as possible dispersed," said Eric Alexander of Vision Long Island.
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Local leaders are telling the governor the east end is a micro-economic region, with no winter season, unlike the rest of Long Island.
"We really need the advisors to the governor to put a microscope down, or a magnifying glass on the east end. It's a totally different environment," said Robert Kern of the East End Chamber Alliance.
Riverhead Town Councilwoman Jodi Giglio told McLogan the north and south forks of Long Island are among tops in the state "for agriculture and tourism, and yet we're lumped in with Nassau and Suffolk counties."
"The phasing component is critically affecting businesses and some of them are not going to come back. We're hoping the governor will reconsider," said Riverhead Town Supervisor Yvette Aguiar.
Their message is that tourists and communities will be kept safe on the east end, which is in need of a boost.
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