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Governor Cuomo: Some Restrictions Might be Loosened IF Infections Rate Stays Down

Governor Cuomo: Some Restrictions Might be Loosened IF Infections Rate Stays Down

Governor Cuomo Press Briefing on July 13, 2020.
Image courtesy of the Office of the Governor of the State of New York

For some time now I’ve been trying to get to the bottom of what’s beyond Phase 4 in New York and what might be the determining factor(s) which takes us beyond the 50% capacity limits.

As most are familiar, offices and indoor retail locations are allowed a maximum capacity of 50% with places of worship at 33%.

Why is this important? In order for the State and the City of New York to make any semblance of an economic recovery, businesses need to be able to function at near 100%. Retail locales need to allow more customers within their establishments. Gyms need to open, restaurants need indoor dining of some sort (which was postponed for NYC).

It was on June 26 that the Governor first brought up the subject of filtration systems needed to combat the COVID-19 Virus. On that day I asked him about metrics beyond NY State and their effect upon our ability to go beyond the 50% capacity guidelines.

He responded by expanding upon that which he’d already spoken about earlier in his briefing – about how the lack of proper air filtration systems were holding back the opening of such venues and locales.

Since then, malls (within Phase 4 regions) which followed through with new ventilation protocols and rules were allowed to reopen.

Thus, one comes to figure that perhaps air filtration systems are the way to go, right?

On July 13, the Governor held a press briefing in NYC and I was there to follow up on this.

I asked him the following:

“Concerning the newly introduced air ventilation rules and protocols. If applied to offices and retail locations – Do you believe this might pave the way towards an expansion of the 50% capacity limits?”

Mr. Cuomo didn’t give the greatest of answers – at least not the sort I was expecting. One might say he was being cautious.

“It could. Look, air filtration to me – you know when we talk about being smart? What have we done in New York? We’ve been smart – Why? We’re smart – and common sense. Look at everything you can. This air filtration is a major function. It’s not the most sexy of functions – you won’t hear many governors talking about air filtration, but, you have a filter that can filter out the COVID Virus? Wow! Why aren’t you using it? You then ran into all sorts of complications – this HVAC system fits and this doesn’t, etc,” said, Governor Cuomo.

“But, we put out guidance – the HEPA filter is the best for those systems that can take it. Otherwise, you have to have a MERV 13 for a large congregate setting is the best or down to a MERV 11 – that’s the floor and the ceiling, if you will. But, I’m excited about the possibility and we’ll see how it goes. If the infection rate stays down then you’re going to see us continue to increase the capacity – and if the air filtration is one of those devices that keeps the infection rate down, great.”

Meanwhile, concerns over the rest of American continue on a heightened level as states continue their record-breaking rates of COVID-19 infections with hospitals running out of ICU bed capacity and worse.

The State of New York just recently announced that 4 states were added to the mandatory quarantine list of states for a total of 22. Any visitors coming to New York would face mandatory quarantines.

At the same time, it’d been found that a recent Fourth of July celebration in Suffolk County ended up with 35 percent of its attendees infected with the virus.

So, any concerns the Governor might have over our path forward are truly well founded.

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