The COVID-19 data is on track for New York City to enter Phase 4 on Monday, but it will do so without reopening indoor spaces like malls and museums as was previously planned. Governor Andrew Cuomo made that announcement on Thursday and didn’t offer a new timeline. While it is likely a disappointment to many hoping to get back to business, it will give shopping centers some more time to meet the state’s new HVAC requirements.
Earlier this month, Cuomo said that malls would be required to have an air filtration system with MERV-13 rating or the highest rating the system will allow–no less than MERV-11. It is believed that the higher level of filtration will reduce the rate of transmission of the novel coronavirus.
Companies in New Jersey have been converting their air filters to MERV-13, according to Air Systems Maintenance, Inc. sales manager Mark Attias.
Attias said the number of requests created a back order and delay in getting the filters. It also doesn’t work for every system.
“You can’t always do that with smaller systems,” he said. “Residential can’t always do it, because it disrupts the air flow too much. It has to be specially designed.”
The other “large-selling” item, Attias said, is UV lights. The lights go into the duct work and kill viruses in the air flow. Delivery of the lights was backed up as well, because of the number of orders.
There are other HVAC modifications that may be helpful as well, including changing the air flow.
As public health officials learn more and state governments move to open more businesses, as well as schools, there will be more demand for HVAC companies and supplies for system modifications.