Diners are flocking back to restaurants in the Southern Tier and in several other regions of New York state after a COVID-19 pandemic closing of more than two months.

Eateries in regions where Phase Two reopening has been approved now are able to set up tables for customers outside their establishments.

At midday Thursday, several people were taking advantage of the opportunity for a sit-down meal at The Colonial in downtown Binghamton.

Yaron Kweller, a partner in the restaurant and the neighboring Dos Rios Cantina, said "we're ecstatic" as he observed lunchtime customers seated along Court Street.

Kweller said restaurant operators and patrons had waited a long time for the go-ahead for outdoor dining with spacing restrictions.

The city of Binghamton is permitting the Court Street restaurants to utilize much more space than they previously used for outdoor seating.

City officials have been working to find new seating options for restaurants as they resume operations following the shutdown.

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Contact WNBF News reporter Bob Joseph: bob@wnbf.com

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