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How will COVID-19 change summer activities in Western New York?

While several events have been canceled, many activities will still be available, with some changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — As we move forward into reopening and gain some level of normalcy, there are still some activities that will be different this summer.

Take dining out, for example. 

"As we begin to reopen our restaurants, what we're finding is people have different comfort levels with going back out to eat inside the restaurant, outside the restaurant. Some are still using take-out and delivery primarily as their source for restaurant food," said Melissa Fleischut, the President and CEO of the New York State Restaurant Association.

Throughout the pandemic, many people have taken advantage of to-go cocktails and wine. The executive order allowing customers to order drinks for takeout and delivery is now expected to be extended another 30 days.

"We're hopeful that it will be continued as long as we have restrictions on business in New York and we'll see where we go from there," Fleischut said.

While restaurants in Western New York now can offer indoor dining, they're still operating at a limited capacity. 

There are also changes coming to the Buffalo Zoo this summer.

Norah Fletchall, the Buffalo Zoo President and CEO, told 2 on Your Side, "We are just excited to welcome everyone back."

Members will be allowed in on July 2, then the rest of the public will be invited in on July 3. The Buffalo Zoo will also be closed on Tuesdays for deep cleaning and disinfection.

"Everyone needs to reserve their time in advance so you have to go onto the website before you arrive at the zoo. We will not be selling any tickets at the gate," Fletchall said. 

Guests ages 2 and older will be required to wear a mask, and there will also be temperature checks. 

"We have a dedicated clean team that's continuously cleaning surfaces throughout the day, you'll see stickers to help everyone maintain a proper social distance. You'll see a lot of hand-washing stations and hand sanitizing stations, those types of things," Fletchall said.

Additionally, while most traditional Fourth of July festivities have been canceled due to COVID-19, some communities still have plans to celebrate.

For example, in Chautauqua County, fireworks will be shot off from Lakeside Park in Mayville.

Organizers wrote in a Facebook post, "The park will be closed do to firework fallout. We feel that shooting them from the park over the lake gives more viewing opportunities for everyone. You should be about to see them pretty much from anywhere on the North side of the lake. We ask that you follow NYS distancing guidelines."

Also, in Orchard Park, the town and village are expanding the traditional parade route. The parade will travel throughout neighborhoods on July 4. Organizers said in a release, "This year we are bringing the parade to you."

They ask that people celebrating follow all social distance guidelines.

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