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“Large malls” in New York won’t be allowed to reopen until they install air-infiltration systems that block coronavirus particles, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday.

“There are HEPA filters — which are high-efficiency particle air filters — that can actually filter out the COVID virus,” Cuomo said at a press briefing.

“The COVID virus is .1 microns. There are HEPA filters that can filter out .01. So any malls that will open in New York, large malls, we will make it mandatory that they have air-filtration systems that can filter out the COVID virus,” he said.

“We have been looking at this issue because you look around the country, you see malls, you see air-conditioning systems, indoor space that have been problematic, and we think this offers promise,” the governor added.

Cuomo did not say when the big malls would be allowed to reopen even with the air-infiltration systems.

A mall-industry source later told The Post, “From what we can tell, no mall owners have these systems in place.

“We have other types of [air-filtering] systems that are used” the source said, adding that it’s unclear as to the potential cost of the new state mandate “because this is something that just got sprung today” by Cuomo.

“I have not heard of these systems being used in regular commercial buildings,” the source added of the special air filters, which Cuomo said have been studied by NASA.

Filed under andrew cuomo ,  Coronavirus in NY ,  shopping malls ,  6/29/20 Share this article: Share this:
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    Latest Coronavirus Updates

    Mid-Hudson enters Phase 3; region continues slow opening

    ■ State health officials said that, as of Monday (July 6), 1,337 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Putnam County; 4,246 in Dutchess; 35,084 in Westchester; 13,656 in Rockland; 1,840 in Ulster; and 10,781 in Orange. Statewide, there were 397,649 positives, including 217,216 in New York City.

    ■ Statewide, 24,913 people had died as of July 6, including 63 residents of Putnam County and 152 from Dutchess.

    Dashboards released by Dutchess and Putnam showed that Beacon had 15 active cases as of July 6 and Putnam County had zero during the week ending July 4, with one new case reported in Philipstown. As of July 6, Dutchess had conducted 66,639 tests and reported 6.5 percent were positive for COVID-19, while Putnam had conducted 18,709 tests and reported 7.1 percent positive.

    ■ Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on July 2 that outdoor pools at state parks, including Bear Mountain, would be open over the July 4 weekend, with social-distancing and 50 percent capacity limits.

    ■ The state announced on July 2 that the federal government provided $4.3 million in funds for emergency management agencies for COVID-19 planning, including $65,000 to Dutchess County, $21,800 to Putnam County and $1.8 million to New York City.

    ■ Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro on June 30 sent a memo to all of the county’s 1,800 employees announcing “a voluntary workforce separation incentive program,” according to the Poughkeepsie Journal. The program includes “three generous incentive options if they opt to retire or leave county service.” The county’s sales-tax revenue has already fallen by nearly $13 million so far this year.

    ■ Dutchess County on July 2 closed its mobile coronavirus testing facility at Dutchess Stadium in Fishkill. The county on Facebook that Nuvance Health, which operated the site, will continue to offer tests at its hospital and medical centers, and that the company had collected more than 47,600 at its four drive-through sites since March. To find a test site, click here.

    ■ Dutchess County reported on July 2 that its Coronavirus Hotline (845-486-3555) fielded nearly 8,000 calls, in 10 languages, over the previous 116 days. The call center which is staffed by county employees and Medical Reserve Corps volunteers, operates weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and currently receives about 35 calls a day. The Medical Reserve Corps last month registered its 1,000th member. The volunteers have logged 5,000 hours so far this year, compared to 4,200 in all of 2019.

    ■ Dutchess County created an alternate care site at Dutchess Community College to help if local hospitals exceeded capacity. With 176 rooms and 457 beds on four floors, the school’s Conklin Hall was prepared to receive hospital overflow with 50 professionals from multiple disciplines. Over the past 15 weeks, the county also has distributed 332,975 surgical masks, 110,935 fabric face masks, 107,237 N-95 and K-N95 masks, 42,103 gowns
    and 34,657 face shields.

    ■ On July 1, Cuomo said the state would delay the opening of indoor dining in New York City, due to an uptick in cases.

    ■ The state said it would create an enforcement department to supplement local enforcement of COVID-19 guidance and restrictions.

    ■ New York, New Jersey and Connecticut announced that, as of June 25, anyone traveling from a state that has a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a 7-day rolling average or a 10 percent or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average must quarantine for 14 days. As of July 3, the states were Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah. See for the latest. According to the state, those found violating the travel-related quarantine order risk fines and potential loss of sick benefits. A first violation could result in a $2,000 fine and could increase to $10,000 for subsequent violations. 

    ■ Cuomo signed an order on Saturday (June 27) stripping paid sick leave protections from employees who voluntarily travel to high-risk states.

    ■ New York, New Jersey and Connecticut also announced that, as of June 25, anyone traveling from a state that has a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a 7-day rolling average or a 10 percent or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average must quarantine for 14 days.

    ■ Cuomo said on June 24 that five regions — Central New York and the Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, North Country and Southern Tier — are on track to enter Phase 4 of the state’s reopening plan on Friday (June 26). The state said arts and entertainment, film and TV production, higher education and professional sports without fans will be allowed, as well as social gatherings of up to 50 people and indoor religious services at up to 33 percent capacity. However, movie theaters, gyms, shopping malls and movie theaters will not be allowed to reopen, as some had anticipated. In a statement, State Sen. Sue Serino, a Republican whose district includes the Highlands, accused the state of “backtracking” and said the decision “defies logic.”

    ■ Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley, through its Dutchess Responds fund, awarded $23,000 in grants to John Flowers Community Events, Friends of Historic Hyde Park, Holy Light Pentecostal Church, Hudson Valley Hospice Foundation, Mediation Center of Dutchess County and the Rhinebeck Reformed Church Food Pantry.

    ■ Cuomo announced on June 14 that low-risk youth sports — including baseball, softball, cross-country, field hockey, crew and gymnastics — will be allowed as of July 6 for regions in Phase 3, with up to two spectators allowed per child. Adult recreational leagues also will be allowed.

    ■ On June 17, the governor said the Mid-Hudson Region was on track to enter Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan on June 23 and that New York City was on track to enter Phase 2 on June 22.  The maximum size of gatherings increases from 10 to 25 people in Phase 3, with social distancing in place.

    ■ On June 17, Cuomo signed legislation prohibiting health care employers from penalizing employees for making complaints of employer violations. “This new law will provide medical professionals with greater protections and allow them to speak more freely about their working conditions and employee or patient safety in the workplace,” he said. The bill passed the Senate, 60-1 (Sue Serino, whose district includes the Highlands, voted yes) and the Assembly, 125-19 (Sandy Galef, whose district includes Philipstown, and Jonathan Jacobson, whose district includes Beacon, each voted yes).

    ■ The Department of Motor Vehicles office in Poughkeepsie opened as of June 15 for licenses, permits and non-driver ID transactions, for Dutchess County residents, by appointment only.

    ■ Cuomo announced on June 16 that hospitals and group homes will be allowed to accept visitors at their discretion with time-limited visits and visitors required to wear personal protective equipment and be subject to symptom and temperature checks. The prohibition on nursing home visitors remains in place.

    ■ The state has prohibited overnight children’s camps from operating this summer.

    ■ Serino said on June 16 she planned to introduce legislation in the state Senate that would direct unused federal CARES Act relief funds to provide grants to small businesses and nonprofits to cover the costs of complying with state mandates for reopening such as modifying the physical layout of a work space; purchasing personal protective equipment or cleaning supplies; or upgrading technology for remote work.

    ■ Cuomo announced on June 14 that the open enrollment period in the state Health Plan Marketplace will be extended until July 15.

    ■ Cornell Cooperative Extension Putnam County is again distributing free hand sanitizer and face coverings to local farms. See

    ■ The governor on June 14 reminded bars and restaurants that any violations of reopening rules and guidelines can result in the loss of that establishment’s liquor license. In addition,  individuals can be fined for open container and social-distancing violations.

    ■ The Bethel Woods Center for the Arts canceled its 2020 season, which was to include shows by James Taylor, Bob Dylan, Norah Jones and The Black Crowes. Ticketholders may donate the value of their tickets, defer the value for events rescheduled for 2021 or receive a refund.

    ■ Local libraries announced they would begin curbside pickup. The Butterfield Library in Cold Spring will offer pickup as of June 15. In Beacon, the Howland Public Library began pickup on June 10. And in Garrison, the Desmond-Fish Public Library will begin pickup as of June 17. Pickups at each library are by appointment only through email or phone. Delivery can be arranged and materials can be returned through the book drops.

    ■ Cuomo announced on June 7 that outdoor, socially distanced graduations of up to 150 people will be allowed beginning June 26, “subject to any outbreaks or significant changes in the metrics.” Haldane High School announced it would hold two ceremonies on June 27, each with about half of the 65-member class and two guests per graduate. Beacon High School plans to screen a “virtual graduation” ceremony on June 24 at a drive-in theater in Hyde Park.

    ■ Cuomo said on June 13 that the state has reached the lowest number of hospitalizations and deaths since the pandemic began. The number of hospitalizations was 1,734 on Friday, its lowest level since March 20. Thirty-two people died from complications of COVID-19, down from a record-high of 800 nine weeks ago.

     ■ The governor on June 13 signed legislation repealing a law that criminalized wearing a mask in public, which conflicted with his earlier order that residents must wear face coverings to help stop the spread of COVID-19. In the state Senate, Sue Serino voted against the bill, which passed 35-27, while in the Assembly, where it passed 109-35, Democrats Sandy Galef (Philipstown) and Jonathan Jacobson (Beacon) voted for it.

     ■ In a news conference on June 9, Cuomo said that a region would only be shut down as it advances through the reopening stages if there is a spike in infections that cannot be managed through the contact tracing of those who test positive.

    ■ The state added racket games (badminton, pickleball, racquetball); toss/bowl games (horseshoes, bocce, bean bag toss, croquet); flying disc games (disc golf and Frisbee); shuffleboard; aerial rope courses or zip lining; rope courses; batting cages; shooting ranges; and swim classes and swim instruction to the list of recreational activities that are allowable with restrictions in place. It also said that municipalities could open public pools and playgrounds at their discretion.

    What If I Feel Sick?

    You’re feeling ill, with a cough, fever, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. What should you do?

    “It’s important to emphasize that the risk of serious illness from COVID-19 remains low,” the Putnam Hospital Center advises patients on its website. “Most infected people will experience mild upper respiratory symptoms.

    “Some people, including the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes and heart disease, are at greater risk and may require more intensive care and/or hospitalization.”

    If you feel ill, the hospital says the first step is to contact your doctor. Many offer “virtual” visits by teleconference. If you visit your doctor’s office or an urgent care, call first to let them know of your symptoms. Only go to the emergency department or call 911 if you are in urgent distress, and let the dispatcher know that you may have been exposed to COVID-19.

    If your doctor believes you have COVID-19, he or she can order a test, which allows you to make an appointment by phone at a drive-thru facility. At the facility, a sample will be collected and sent for testing.

    For general questions about COVID-19, Putnam Hospital Center operates a hotline staffed by nurses daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 888-667-9262. A representative for the hospital said that most callers (1) ask about symptoms and what to do if exposed to someone who has COVID-19; (2) believe they have symptoms, in which case they are referred to their doctor; or (3) ask how they can donate equipment such as masks, anti-bacterial soap and, in one case, a pediatric ventilator.

    The hospital has a list of commonly asked questions and responses posted at The state Department of Health also has a hotline at 888-364-3065 that is open around the clock to answer general questions or for information about testing sites.

    ■ Cuomo announced on Monday (June 8) that elective surgeries can resume at New York City hospitals.

    ■ The state delivered 500,000 cloth masks and 10,000 gallons and 100,000 two-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer to Metro-North. To date, New York has distributed four million free bottles of hand sanitizer statewide.

    ■ The governor signed an order allowing in-person special education summer schools to operate.

    ■ Cuomo on June 7 signed an executive order extending the absentee ballot deadline for the June 23 primary election to the day of the election. Ballots must be postmarked by June 23 to be counted.

    ■ Cuomo said on June 6 that places of worship will be permitted to reopen during Phase 2 with 25 percent occupancy and all social distancing protocols in place. He also said he would sign an executive order allowing office buildings to conduct temperature checks  on people entering.

    ■ Cuomo announced on June 4 that the state would expand the criteria that allows people to be tested to include anyone who attended a protest. See

    ■ Cuomo announced on June 3 that outdoor dining at restaurants will be permitted in Phase 2 of the state reopening plan. He said tables must be spaced 6 feet apart, all staff must wear face coverings, and customers must wear face coverings when not seated.

    ■ The state announced that dentists may reopen on June 1 and that summer day camps can open statewide on June 29. A decision has not been made on sleep-away camps. The state also said on June 2 that “outdoor, low-risk recreational activities and businesses providing such activities” are allowed under Phase 1.

    ■ The Dutchess County Agricultural Society on June 3 canceled the 175th annual Dutchess County Fair, which had been scheduled in Rhinebeck for Aug. 25 to 30. “We explored all options,” said Andy Imperati, the fair’s president and CEO. “We are heartbroken for the small businesses, family farms, competitors and exhibitors and communities who rely on the income and exposure the Dutchess County Fair brings them. We have one chance to do it right and if we cannot present the best of the best to our fair goers, then we will not do it.”

    ■ The Putnam County Veterans Memorial Park on Gipsy Trail Road in Kent opened on May 30; its hours are 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Parking is limited to 50 cars and no groups are allowed except individual households and family units. Park staff will enforce restrictions such as social distancing and face masks, the county said. The beach will open on June 5; it will be limited to 50 people at a time. The playground, exercise equipment and pavilion remain closed, and all group sports are prohibited.

    Step by Step

    There is typically at least 14 days between phases once the criteria for each is met, based on the incubation period of COVID-19.

    Phase 1

    Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting
    Retail (curbside or in-store pickup/drop-off)
    Wholesale Trade

    Phase 2

    Professional Services
    Administrative Support
    Real Estate / Rental & Leasing

    Phase 3

    Restaurants / Food Services

    Phase 4

    Arts / Entertainment / Recreation


    ■ On May 28, Cuomo signed an order to allow private businesses to deny entry to anyone who isn’t wearing a mask or face covering.

    ■ Metro-North announced on May 27 that all customers are required to wear a mask or face covering on its property and to maintain social distance, “particularly while in Metro-North stations, on our platforms, and in Grand Central Terminal.” It also asked riders “to board trains at all available doors and to take seats that maximize social distancing” and recommended that customers travel, if possible, during non-peak hours, before 7 a.m. and after 6 p.m., and only for essential travel. The agency said it sanitizes its stations every 12 hours and its trains every 24 hours.

    ■ The Putnam County Business Council has put out a call for volunteer contact tracers for the Mid-Hudson Region’s anticipated eligibility for Phases 2, 3, and 4 of the state’s reopening plan. Volunteers must complete a six-hour online training course. They work remotely to reach out to the contacts of anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 to assess symptoms, ensure quarantine compliance and determine support needs. To volunteer, call Jan Miller at 845-808-1650 ext. 46103, or email The state is also hiring contact tracers. See

    ■ In Dutchess County, as of May 27, more than 500 people had volunteered to train as contact tracers, and more than 280 had completed the training. The county was required to have 250 contact tracers for the region to enter Phase 1.

    NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital in Cortlandt Manor celebrated the discharge of its 250th COVID-19 patient.

    ■ Dutchess County reported on May 27 that tests completed at four of its 13 licensed nursing homes of more than 280 residents identified nine residents with COVID-19 — all at The Grand at Pawling. Eight were asymptomatic and are being cared for in a separate, secure area of the facility. The ninth had already been isolated.

    ■ Cuomo appointed Molinaro and Putnam Executive MaryEllen Odell to an 11-person “control room” set up to monitor compliance with the metrics and oversee reopening of the Mid-Hudson region.

    ■ Dutchess County Public Transit, including the Beacon Free Loop, will return to its regular schedule on Saturday, June 6. Social distancing guidelines will be enforced; drivers will wear masks and gloves; and passengers will be required to wear face coverings to board.

    ■ On May 22, Cuomo announced the launch of a $100 million loan fund for small businesses, nonprofits and small  landlords that did not receive federal assistance and who have 20 or fewer employees and less than $3 million in gross revenues. See

    Campgrounds and RV parks will be allowed to open statewide on May 25, and veterinarian practices will be allowed to open statewide on May 26.

    ■ The Dutchess County health department on May 21 said school districts, including Beacon, can hold commencement exercises only if participants remain in their vehicles, such as in parking lots, drive-in theaters or convoys.

    Questions? Dutchess County posts updates at and has a hotline at 845-486-3555. Putnam County posts info at New York State has a hotline at 888-364-3065 and a webpage at The state also created an email list to provide updates. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posts updates at To find a test site, visit

    ■ Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley dispersed its third round of grants from the Putnam COVID-19 Respond Fund. It distributed $26,000 to the Brewster Community Food Pantry, CoveCare Center, Mental Health Association in Putnam County, Patterson Presbyterian Food Pantry, Putnam Valley Community Food Pantry, SPACE on Ryder Farm, and St. John’s the Evangelist Food Pantry.

    ■ Cuomo said on May 12 that county health departments will be in charge of determining if businesses that reopen are complying with social-distancing rules. Counties will also be in charge of penalizing businesses.

    ■ As of May 21, the Dutchess Responds Food Connection, established in March, had received 506 requests for food and made 707 deliveries, averaging 18 deliveries per day. Each delivery consists of three meals per day for three days. Residents in need of food resources can request free deliveries of meals by filling out an online form or by calling the Dutchess County Coronavirus Hotline at 845-486-3555 and selecting Option 5. In addition, the Dutchess County Office for the Aging has delivered 34,000 meals to seniors since March 16.

    ■ The state said that, as of May 21, it would allow, with social distancing and masks, religious gatherings of no more than 10 people, along with drive-in and parking-lot services. After the New York Civil Liberties Union filed suit, calling the order unconstitutional because it applied only to religious organizations and Memorial Day observations, on May 22 Cuomo issued a new order allowing gatherings of up to 10 people “for any lawful purpose or reason” in any part of the state, including New York City, as long as social distancing is maintained.

    ■ Empire State Development released an online tool to help businesses determine when they will be able to reopen.

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