ALBANY, N.Y. – During a press conference Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said mandatory air filtration requirements must be met before large malls can reopen in New York.
“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,” said Cuomo.
According to Cuomo, NASA studies show that high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters can filter out COVID-19 particles, because they have a high minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV).
HEPA filters are designed to filter particles .01 microns or larger, and according to the state, COVID-19 virus particles are .125 microns in diameter.
“For many of these systems, it depends on what filter you install, called the MERV rating of the filter, but they have different filters that filter out different sized particles, and they have filters that can actually filter out and catch the COVID virus,” said Cuomo.
The state has also recommended that all businesses and offices consider installing filters with high MERV ratings.
Paul Collis, of Fred F. Collis and Sons, says MERV ratings increase with efficiency, ranging from one to 20.
"The lower MERV you have is the least efficient filter you have. Typical throwaway filter like from Home Depot or somewhere like that between a MERV one and a MERV four. Once you get up to the MERV eight to 11, they're a lot more efficient and you have MERV all the way up to 16, 17, 18, 19, 20. Anything over a MERV 16 is installed in hospital clean rooms, computer rooms something you need 100% clean air," said Collis.
He says MERV 11 is usually the lowest rated filter Collis would install.