Restaurants in several regions of upstate New York are being allowed to provide outdoor seating for customers following the COVID-19 dining ban.

Governor Andrew Cuomo Wednesday afternoon announced the move, which affects the Southern Tier, the Finger Lakes and the five other parts of the state that have entered Phase Two of the reopening process.

Restaurants in the regions will be able to reopen for outdoor dining starting Thursday. Tables must be spaced six feet apart, workers must wear face coverings and customers must cover their faces when they are not seated.

Restaurant operators have been preparing to set up outdoor tables.

Jordan Needham, the manager of The Colonial on Court Street in downtown Binghamton, was surprised to learn of the governor's announcement. He said he was excited that customers will be able to dine at tables set up outside the business.

Needham said the city is allowing the restaurant to use more sidewalk space than in the past to accommodate outdoor dining.

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