More of New York’s economy is opening up as it recovers from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, with malls are now permitted to reopen during Phase 4.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that as of Friday, July 10, malls will be allowed to reopen, though they must install special filtration systems before opening their doors.
"They must use air filtration systems that can take COVID out of the air,” Cuomo said, noting that filtration systems have a high Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) such as High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters.
Cuomo said the state must have systems with a rating between MERV-11 and MERV-13 if they are to reopen. He noted that COVID-19 particles are approximately .125 micron in diameter, and HEPA filters are designed to filter out particles that are .01 micron and above.
In addition to the filtration systems, malls must also have new ventilation protocols, including increased outdoor air, reduced air recirculation, longer system run times, and frequent filter checks.
Face coverings and social distance protocols must also be adhered to, as per state law.
“We’ve been looking at this issue across the country in malls that have opened up,” Cuomo added. “Large indoor spaces have been problematic, but I think this offers promise. We’ve done a lot of work with the air filtration systems, and it could make a significant difference.
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