Mall owners denounce N.Y. Gov. Cuomo’s air filtration mandate

FILE – In this June 8, 2020 file photo, a woman shops for women’s shirts in a MiniMax store in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, in New York. New York City is on track to open more businesses and could enter the second phase of reopening Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)

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UPDATED 11:11 AM PT — Wednesday, July 1, 2020

There are new requirements for New York shopping malls looking to to reopen. During a press briefing Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) demanded malls install high quality air systems before opening their doors.

“They have different filters that filter out different size particles, and they have filters that can actually filter out and can catch the COVID virus,” said the governor. “For large mall reopenings, which we haven’t done yet, but we are going to make this mandatory.”

Despite the new requirements for malls, Cuomo has allowed other much smaller businesses to reopen without high end filtration systems. He previously suggested that the air conditioning currently inside malls just recirculate the virus, but mall operators have said that’s just not true.

Pyramid Management Group owns just under a dozen shopping malls in the state. It released a statement calling the governor’s policy both “unfair and unjustified.” The company accused the state of putting expectations on malls that other business don’t have to worry about like a heightened focus on air circulation.

“You look around the country and you’re seeing malls, you’re seeing air conditioning systems, indoor space that have been problematic and this offers promise,” Cuomo claimed.

FILE – In this May 27, 2020, file photo, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington. New York’s governor signed an executive order Wednesday, June 17, recognizing Juneteenth as a paid holiday for state employees to commemorate the emancipation of slaves in the U.S. Cuomo said he will propose legislation next year making June 19 a permanent state holiday. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

When announcing it’s decision, the state cited incidents in other states where customers are seen packed “into tight venues without masks or social distancing requirements in place.” They noted that this creates a greater risk of spreading the virus.

However, Pyramid Management Group said this isn’t in any way comparable “to a vast open shopping center with millions of square feet available to socially distance.” The company said it also has safety protocols in place and requires patrons wear masks.

Meanwhile, reports have claimed no mall owners in New York currently have the necessary air systems in place now required by the state. There is no word yet on how much this new state mandate could potentially cost.

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Amber Coakley
Author: Amber Coakley

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