County fairs canceled until further notice
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday announced New York will decide whether schools will reopen in the fall during the first week of August. The state is now consulting with stakeholders on guidance, which will be finalized on July 13. Plans to reopen schools are due July 31.
“We have been consulting all stakeholders on guidance on how a school would reopen in September,” he said. “We have 700 school districts in this state. They range from rural districts to urban districts, suburban districts. Localities are very involved in their schools and school decisions. … We'll have finalized guidance pursuant to those conversations on July 13.
“On July 31, local school districts will submit their plans on how they would reopen; what their precautions will be; if they want to have a phased reopening; if they want to have a partial reopening. Those plans would come in on July 31. Aug. 1 to 7, the state will announce a decision on whether or not those schools reopen. We want to make that decision with the best available data.
“The facts change here day-to-day, week-to-week. I understand there's a drop-dead date where you have to make a decision by a certain date. But wait until that date to make a decision, because the facts may change. As we see, a week can be a lifetime with this COVID virus, because everything changes so quickly. The schools say they need a decision made by the end of the first week in August, so they can then turn on the switches and get everything ready for September. And we'll look at the data in that first week and then we'll make a decision.”
•Cuomo also announced that, beginning Friday, July 10, malls can open in regions that have entered phase four of reopening if they have implemented an enhanced heating, ventilation and air conditioning – or HVAC – filtration system and follow proper ventilation protocols. HVAC systems will be required to include filters with a minimum efficiency reporting value – or MERV – rating of which filters out the COVID-19 virus, but can, if the system makes additional protections, run on a minimum MERV of 11. Ventilation protocols include increased outdoor air, reduced air circulation, longer system run times and frequent filter checks.
“We've had a lot of consultation, done work on air filtration. There are air filtration systems that can take COVID out of the air. There then winds up a series of questions, what filters work on what HVAC systems. But the filters are rated. The HVAC systems are rated by what they call a MERV rating,” Cuomo said. “So, what we're saying is – the best filter that we would like to see installed is what's called the MERV-13. It goes to the density of the filter and what it can actually filter out. MERV-13 filters out the COVID virus. Some systems can't take MERV-13, so it's either 13, 12 or 11. But one of those three filters – and then we have ventilation protocols. And the mall reopening date is July 10 in phase four (regions).”
•The governor said all county fairs will be canceled until further notice out of an abundance of caution. Cuomo previously announced the New York State Fair will be canceled this summer.
•Cuomo also announced New York state will provide 1,000 masks and 1,000 2-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer for the Fire Island COVID Destroyers – a partnership that includes GMHC and Fire Island community leaders – to distribute on Fire Island.