While Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave the go-ahead Monday for Western New York to enter Phase 4 of reopening, he said large malls must take steps to remove particles of the coronavirus from indoor air before they can reopen.
That could include installing air filters powerful enough to remove the virus or taking other steps to exchange air in a property.
The governor, speaking during a press conference in New York City, did not offer any update on when malls might be allowed to return. He also didn’t mention gyms or movie theaters, which also have not yet been allowed to restart anywhere in the state.
While strong filters or other air exchange measures will be mandatory for malls, Cuomo said the state is recommending them for all businesses, even those that were allowed to reopen previously.
The coronavirus is large enough that existing high efficiency particulate air filters (HEPA filters) can remove it, Cuomo added.
Many malls, gyms and movie theaters across the state expected to return in Phase 4 of New York’s reopening plan. Five regions, including the Finger Lakes and Central New York, entered Phase 4 last week.
But Cuomo has so far held off on approving the return of any of those businesses. He has said repeatedly he’s concerned about the potential for the virus to spread in large enclosed spaces.
Nonessential businesses, including malls, first closed in New York in March to help slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Phase 4 reopening includes all museums, historical sites, aquariums and other related institutions or activities, as well as outdoor zoos, botanical gardens, nature parks, grounds of historic sites and cultural institutions and higher education campuses.
In the daily update on coronavirus numbers in the state, the governor’s office reported new patient hospitalizations on Sunday were 853, down 16 from Saturday, while there were seven seven deaths.
Total deaths in New York are at 24,842.
CUOMO CALLS OUT TRUMP ON MASKSAs coronavirus spikes in several states, Cuomo called on President Trump to acknowledge the urgency of the situation and to lead by example.
“And to start simply, the president can do two things,” Cuomo said. “First, sign an executive order directing everyone to wear a mask. How we’re at this point as a nation and we still haven’t done the simple, easy, minimal step of saying you must wear a mask when you’re in public.”
Cuomo then said the president should put a mask himself when he is out in public.
“We’ve proven that it works in the state of New York,” Cuomo said. “The president can still be New York tough and New York smart and united and disciplined and loving.”
Cuomo also said incoming air travelers to New York could soon be asked to fill out forms that would aid the state’s policy on quarantines for people from locations where the coronavirus is considered to be spinking.
As details are still being worked out, Cuomo said the cards would be similar to landing cards many countries use for international travelers.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is talking with airlines about the forms now, Cuomo said during a radio interview Monday.