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Cuomo says HEPA filters will be required for malls to reopen

Governor Andrew Cuomo gave a little more guidance on Monday for malls, who have been anxiously waiting news of reopening in New York.

That message on Monday involved HEPA filters, which are able to filter out the virus particles. He said health experts were working through potential solutions to allow malls to reopen in New York.

While some locally hoped to open as part of ‘Phase 2’, they were pushed back to ‘Phase 4’, before being removed from that phase as the Finger Lakes, Central New York, and Southern Tier approached it.

Cuomo said that all businesses with air condition systems should consider the HEPA filters, but that only malls would be required to install them.

“We don’t want to climb this mountain again,” Cuomo said, “and that’s why the phased reopening, staying smart, staying disciplined – and that’s why the spread across the country, if that spread comes to New York we could have to do this all over again.”

HEPA, which stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air, is a designation used to describe filters that are able to trap 99.97 percent of particles that are 0.3 microns.

Though the HEPA standard and certification process wasn’t established until 1983, development of HEPA filters dates back to World War II, when American scientists with the Manhattan Project created the first HEPA filter to capture radioactive particles released during the creation of the atomic bomb.