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Clear the air: Malls now mandated to have air filters that can handle COVID-19

Amherst Supervisor Brian Kulpa tells 2 On Your Side that the Boulevard Mall doesn't have air filters that filter the coronavirus.

AMHERST, N.Y. — New York State is now requiring large malls, before they can reopen, to have air filtration systems that can filter out the coronavirus. Some malls are now looking at their systems to see what changes if any need to be made. 

2 On Your Side heard from Amherst Town Supervisor Brian Kulpa by phone, he says from conversations he’s had with management of the Boulevard Mall, that the Boulevard does not have the air filters the state is now requiring.

On Monday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said there are air filters that can help filter out the coronavirus and that this is something NASA has been studying.  

The state is now mandating that large malls have air filters that have a MERV rating good enough to filter out coronavirus particles — or an air system good enough to do the same.

MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value.

2 On Your Side also heard from Russ Fulton, the general manager of the Eastern Hills Mall who says he’s looking into specifically what changes need to be made if any, to the mall’s air filters, to see if it complies with what the state is requiring.

2 On Your Side reached out to the Fashion Outlets, Walden Galleria and the McKinley Mall but we have not heard back as to what air filter systems they have in place.

The state is also recommending all businesses and offices to consider getting air filters that can filter out COVID-19.

Jason Conwall, a spokesperson for the governor issued the following statement: 

"We're currently talking to mall operators and as we've done with every step of our phased approach, we will issue guidance for the reopening of these facilities. The cost of these safety measures should be factored into the facilities' operating expenses. The costs and mitigation measures may vary by facility and system. Further details will be included in the forthcoming guidance."

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