Reason Why Malls, Gyms, Theaters Aren’t Reopening in New York
Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave a reason why gyms, malls and movie theaters aren't allowed to reopen.
On Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo confirmed gym, malls and movie theaters won't reopen in Phase 4 of the state's four-step COVID-19 reopening as many expected.
Cuomo said officials are continuing to study the impact air conditions have on spreading coronavirus at gyms, malls and businesses.
"There are reports malls, bars, certain social clubs with air conditioning, that it may not be cleansing the air of the virus and just recycling the virus, so we're studying that and as soon as we get more information we’ll make a decision," Cuomo said.
Many assumed gyms, malls and movie theaters would be apart of Phase 4. Five of New York's 10 regions reached Phase 4 on Friday.
"Gyms, theaters, malls, we are still looking at the science and the data. There has been information that those situations have created issues in other states. If we have that information, we don't want to then go ahead until we know what we're doing, right. This is a road that no one has traveled on before. Logic suggests if you see a problem in other states that you explore it before you move forward in your state, and that's what we're doing with gyms, theaters, and malls. Our Department of Health is trying to determine if there is any filtration system for an air conditioning system that can successfully remove the virus from air circulation. Is there a filter that can be added to an air conditioning system that we know will filter out the virus. The issue they're looking at is, are these air conditioning systems recirculating the virus, and you're not getting a high percentage about the air, the air conditioning system is recirculating and could be recirculating the virus. So that's the issue that we're exploring on that, and if anybody knows of a filter that successfully filters out the coronavirus, that we can add to an air conditioning system, that would be very helpful," Cuomo added.
On Thursday, Pyramid Management Group, which operates the Galleria at Crystal Run in Middletown and the Poughkeepsie Galleria, stated the air conditioners running in the malls are no different than other air conditioners used at businesses that are allowed to reopen.
"While we can appreciate the State’s concern about the public’s health and safety, any reporting that suggests that HVAC systems within enclosed shopping centers are more likely to distribute the virus than HVAC systems within restaurants, barber shops, office buildings, museums and freestanding retailers already open like Target, Wal Mart, Hobby Lobby, TJ Maxx (and others) is simply false. The quality of overall air circulation in our shopping centers, which also benefit from considerable open and airy corridors, is as good or better than those venues that have been allowed to re-open. Numerous health and safety experts support the view that enclosed shopping centers present no greater risk of spreading the virus through their HVAC systems than standalone, freestanding retailers’ locations (see citation below). If anything, the relative risk within our airy, enclosed malls may in fact be lower as we have done more than is necessary based on health and safety recommendations to improve the existing air filtration systems within our shopping centers to bolster the quality of airflow within our centers," Pyramid Management Group said in a statement.