Malls allowed to reopen in New York state — with strict guidelines

Phase 4 allows malls to open Friday if they install enhanced air filtration systems

Governor Andrew Cuomo and Roosevelt Field Mall in Long Island (Getty)
Governor Andrew Cuomo and Roosevelt Field Mall in Long Island (Getty)

Mall walkers and shoppers can rejoice: Malls will be allowed to reopen Friday in regions of New York state where phase 4 is permitted, as long as they meet stringent guidelines.

Malls are allowed to welcome customers back if they install enhanced HVAC filtration systems, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday. Malls previously were delayed beyond phase 4, along with gyms and theaters.

“The more we learn about COVID, the clearer it is that safe ventilation is crucial,” Cuomo said in a tweet.

Under the new guidelines, malls’ filtration systems must have at least a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value rating of 11. MERV is rated on a scale of 1 to 16, with 16 having the most filtration.

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Malls are the only facilities to have such strict guidelines in place, although Cuomo previously recommended that other offices and businesses similarly look into installing enhanced air filtration systems.

New York City is the only part of the state that is not entering phase 4. Cuomo recently further delayed the city’s reopening, as indoor dining was postponed indefinitely, despite entering phase 3.

However, business owners who have not been allowed to reopen are antsy to join malls and retailers. Thousands of gym owners have threatened a class action lawsuit against the administration for excluding them from reopening.

Contact Sasha Jones at