CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB)–“While we can appreciate the State’s concern about the public’s health and safety, any reporting that suggests that HVAC systems within enclosed shopping centers are more likely to distribute the virus than HVAC systems within restaurants, barbershops, office buildings, museums, and freestanding retailers already open like Target, Wal Mart, Hobby Lobby, TJ Maxx (and others) is simply false.”

That’s what Pyramid Management Group, owners of the Walden Galleria, had to say this morning after news that malls will not be in Phase 4, but will be back open for business at a later date.

Governor Cuomo announced Wednesday there are still safety concerns surrounding these places, including air condition systems.

“The quality of overall air circulation in our shopping centers, which also benefit from considerable open and airy corridors, is as good or better than those venues that have been allowed to reopen,” Pyramid added.

Officials say numerous health and safety experts say enclosed shopping centers present no greater risk of spreading the virus through their HVAC systems than standalone, freestanding retailers’ locations.

In a statement sent to News 4, Pyramid says, “If anything, the relative risk within our airy, enclosed malls may, in fact, be lower as we have done more than is necessary based on health and safety recommendations to improve the existing air filtration systems within our shopping centers to bolster the quality of airflow within our centers.”

Troy Licastro is a digital content producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2018. See more of his work here.