New York City’s malls will finally be able to reopen next week, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday.
Starting Sept. 9, New York City’s malls will be able to open at 50% capacity. Face coverings and social distancing will be required at all times.
“While this pandemic is far from over, our numbers have remained steadily low, so we know our phased, data-driven approach to reopening is the right one,” Governor Cuomo said. “Thanks to the hard work of New Yorkers, we are at a point in our fight against this virus where we can safely reopen malls in New York City as long as they adhere to strict health and safety protocols. Masks, enhanced air ventilation systems, and social distancing will be mandatory. This is good news and the right step forward.”
All malls that choose to reopen will be subject to strict safety protocols, including strict enforcement of face coverings, social distancing, additional staff to control occupancy, traffic flow and seating to avoid crowding and enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols. Malls will also have enhanced air filtration, ventilation and purification standards in place in order to reopen.
All indoor dining food courts will not be permitted at this time. Loitering or any unnecessary gatherings will not be permitted as well.
Cuomo also announced that casinos will be able to open at 25% capacity starting Sept. 9. Like with the malls, the casinos that reopen will be subject to strict safety protocols, including strict enforcement of face coverings except when eating or drinking, social distancing, additional staff to control occupancy, traffic flow and seating to avoid crowding, and enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols. Casinos must also have enhanced air filtration, ventilation and purification standards in place in order to open.
All casinos that choose to reopen must leave six feet of distance between operating machines, and no table games will be allowed unless and until casinos put in place physical barriers between players and the Gaming Commission approves those barriers. All food and beverage service will be banned from the gaming floor, and the State Gaming Commission will be deployed to monitor casinos and ensure strict enforcement of these measures.
In New York State, out of 88,447 COVID-19 tests performed on Sept. 1, 708 came back positive — giving New York a 0.80% infection rate. There were 445 hospitalizations and 5 fatalities due to COVID-19.
For more information about reopening protocols, visit forward.ny.gov.
This story originally appeared on amny.com.