Kevin P. Coughlin / Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Governor Cuomo is investigating HEPA filters that filter out COVID-19 particles in air conditioning systems in malls, restaurants, and businesses.

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that air conditioning filters capable of filtering out COVID particles would be mandatory for large mall openings. Wednesday, he will announce whether indoor dining will be allowed in NYC as part of Phase 3 of reopening. In other states, indoor restaurants’ closed space with air-conditioning systems has led to the faster transmissibility of the virus.  

“One of the issues we’re working on in New York: Indoor dining has shown that it has been problematic. That a virus spreads in closed, indoor areas that have air-conditioned systems. We know that indoor dining has been problematic,” said Cuomo.

On the other hand, “outdoor dining has worked very well all across the state, New York City included. The state’s going to be reviewing the data and consulting with stakeholders in New York City,” explained Cuomo. He has been speaking with restaurant owners, business owners, and stakeholders about the risks and rewards of indoor dining, and consulting with Comptroller Scott Stringer, Speaker Corey Johnson, and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio. 

“We want to study this issue primarily New York City on indoor dining, and we’ll have a final decision by Wednesday, so people who operate those types of businesses will know what we’re doing,” Cuomo continued.

To study this issue, Cuomo is investigating specialized air conditioner filters that would filter out the COVID-19 particles in collaboration with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Cuomo said, “There are air filtration devices— air filters that can actually help with the COVID virus, and NASA has studied these.” 

HEPA filters are High-Efficiency Particulate Air filters that can filter out particles that are 0.1 microns and smaller. (The COVID virus is approximately 0.125 microns in diameter.) He continued, “For many of these systems, it depends on what filter you install, called the MERV rating of the filter.” Different filters that filter out different sized particles, and filters, such as HEPA, can filter out and catch the COVID virus.

“For large mall re-openings— which we haven’t done yet— but we’re going to make this mandatory. I would recommend— the state recommends— for all businesses and offices, they explore the potential for their air conditioning / air filtration system, adding a filter that can filter out the COVID virus. We think this offers promise,” announced Cuomo.

Karen Jang

Karen Jang is a Generation Z Voice at The Pavlovic Today. She is studying Chemistry at Barnard College of Columbia University and Classical Violin at the Manhattan School of Music. Karen is a graduate...