Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that malls in New York State will be allowed to reopen as soon as Friday, with restrictions mainly levied against their HVAC systems.
The state announced that malls must install no less than MERV 11 filters into their HVAC systems. MERV is an industry standard measuring systems used to denote the efficiency of filtration, the higher the number, the finer the particles that would be filtered out. They must also have ventilation protocols, such as increased outdoor air, reduced air re-circulation, longer system run times and frequent filter checks.
While visiting Buffalo Wednesday, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said delaying mall reopenings and stepping up guidelines on air filtration systems was the right move.
“What we saw in other states was the increase in infection because of malls opening and gyms opening and other gatherings,” said Hochul. “We’re going to get it right here. It’s going to take a little longer, but when we do, we’re going to have the safeguards in place to protect the public.”
Malls were part of original phase four COVID-19 reopening plans, but were removed from the list shortly before regions in New York reached that phase. According to a tweet from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, regions already in phase four can now open up their malls.
In a press release from parent company Pyramid Management Group, Walden Galleria has announced it will be opening on Friday.
Beginning Friday, July 10, malls can open in Phase 4 regions as long as they have enhanced HVAC filtration systems & measures in place.
The more we learn about COVID, the clearer it is that safe ventilation is crucial.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) July 8, 2020