Reopen NY: Indoor malls back in business in Phase 4, with one new requirement

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Governor Andrew Cuomo has cleared the way for shopping malls to reopen across New York state, allowing indoor malls to get back to business as long as they have special air filtration systems in place. It applies to regions in Phase 4 of their reopening, which at present does not include New York City.

Up to now, only stores with separate entrances outside were permitted to open, eliminating most small stores on the interior corridors. Most malls only had the major retail anchor stores and a few restaurants operating.

In the northern counties, the Palisades Center Mall in West Nyack, the Galleria at Crystal Run in Middletown, and Poughkeepsie Galleria will reopen Friday.

On Long Island, Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City, Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove, and Walt Whitman Shops in Huntington Station will all reopen on Friday,

Broadway Commons in Hicksville and Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream will reopen on Saturday.

Westfield South Shore in Bay Shore and Sunrise Mall in Massapequa have yet to upgrade their filtration systems to comply. They are due to reopen next Wednesday.

The malls that reopen must have air filtration systems with a minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) of MERV-13, or highest rating compatible with their system, but no less than a MERV-11 rating.

MERV-13 filters remove a larger fraction of particles of the size that could contain viruses each time they pass through them. They remove infectious materials faster than MERV-11, for example. The amount of time it would take a mall to upgrade to at least MERV-11 would depend on what kind of HVAC system the mall has installed.

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