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NY malls get greenlight to open Friday

(WCAX)
Published: Jul. 8, 2020 at 1:42 PM EDT
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Indoor shopping malls outside New York City can reopen on Friday if they install new air filters to remove COVID-19 particles from the air, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday.

Cuomo says the HVAC systems must have filters with a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) ratings of at least 11. That's supposed to be enough to filter out the virus.

Plattsburgh Town Supervisor Michael Cashman says Champlain Centre already has a MERV 11 system so it can reopen.

"Malls have changed dramatically from when they first got established in communities. We have many local businesses within our local mall and we want to encourage people now that it's open -- get out there and shop, support these local businesses that have been closed down for three plus months. They really need you to support them and help stimulate the local economy," Cashman said.

Most of the non-anchor tenants at malls without separate entrances have been closed since March. They were originally included in phase four reopening plans, but remained shuttered as state health officials researched how to reopen them safely.

The announcement comes as welcome news to owners and tenants at the Champlain Centre mall in Plattsburgh. While small compared to malls in larger cities, an estimated 500 of the mall's 900 employees were still out of work.

"With proper precautions in place and health and safety a top priority, we look forward to restoring our centers to their dominant positions as the economic drivers of their respective regions," Stephen Congel, the CEO of Pyramid Management Group said in a statement.

Champlain Centre is expected to reopen Friday.

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