NY Governor Cuomo: Malls, in Phase 4 Regions, with Proper Air Filtration Can Open
Might this pave the way towards going beyond our 50% Capacity Limits?
Can we, in turn, recover economically … more assuredly?
Near the bottom of this page is a video compilation of that which the Governor’s spoken concerning air filtration over the past two weeks.
During his press briefing today, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that “malls can open in regions that have entered Phase IV of reopening if they have implemented an enhanced Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning – or HVAC – filtration system and follow proper ventilation protocols.”
Since July 26, the Governor has spoken about air filtration systems and which might be capable of filtering out the Novel Coronavirus adequately enough to ensure safety.
“We’ve had a lot of consultation, done work on air filtration. There are air filtration systems that can take COVID out of the air. There then winds up a series of questions, what filters work on what HVAC systems. But the filters are rated. The HVAC systems are rated by what they call a MERV rating,” said Mr. Cuomo, today.
“So, what we’re saying is— the best filter that we would like to see installed is what’s called the MERV-13. It goes to the density of the filter and what it can actually filter out. MERV-13 filters out the COVID virus. Some systems can’t take MERV-13, so it’s either 13, 12 or 11. But one of those three filters— and then we have ventilation protocols. And the mall reopening date is July 10 in phase four.”
Unlike Connecticut, which has had its malls opened since the first day of its entry into Phase 1, New York State has been extraordinarily careful. The Governor has repeatedly reminded everyone of how both the state and mostly the City of New York were once the epicenter of the COVID-19 Pandemic and Crisis.
Paraphrasing the Governor, “Let’s Not Get Arrogant, Let’s Not Get Cocky!”
In the past 48 hours, WHO (World Health Organization) acknowledged the airborne spread of Novel Coronavirus after a group of scientists published an open letter pleading for the organization to update its guidelines.
A small portion of the letter read as follows:
“”It is understood that there is not as yet universal acceptance of airborne transmission of SARS-CoV2; but in our collective assessment there is more than enough supporting evidence so that the precautionary principle should apply. In order to control the pandemic, pending the availability of a vaccine, all routes of transmission must be interrupted. We are concerned that the lack of recognition of the risk of airborne transmission of COVID-19 and the lack of clear recommendations on the control measures against the airborne virus will have significant consequences: people may think that they are fully protected by adhering to the current recommendations, but in fact, additional airborne interventions are needed for further reduction of infection risk.””
As mentioned, the Governor has spoken about the need to curtail the spread of the virus through airborne methods. He’s also indicated how such pursuits could not only have a great effect upon the state’s battle with the pandemic but as well the country.
With this in mind, there’s the question of whether this can be of use within office spaces and other indoor locales. At the moment, business offices, and other indoor retail and other locales are limited to a capacity of 50%. In churches, that capacity is at 33%.
Indoor dining, slated for NYC’s recent entry into Phase 3 was postponed partly out of concern over this very issue.
The state is hurting financially and businesses simply cannot succeed and contribute to the economy if they’re limited in their level of functioning. Likewise, workers are limited in their ability to earn a living. All are foregone conclusions.
If the Governor’s activities in these matters prove to be successful then it might very well pave the way to greater and broader recoveries.
It should be noted, that it’s not clear (as of the time of this writing) to what extent NYC’s entry into Phase 4 (likely to happen on July 20) would be allowed. With its great population density, experience at the epicenter of the pandemic and lack of citizen adherence to state mandated guidance (which the Governor has often complained about) there’s always the chance that we might not be allowed to have open malls just yet. This consideration comes after having our chance at indoor dining stripped away.