Coronavirus Technology Solutions
February 23, 2021

Renfro Estimates the Sock Market at $50 Billion or Less Than 25% of the Mask Market

Hanes Surgical Mask Receives FDA Authorization

Highly Efficient Masks Greatly Increase In-Flight Safety.

Ahlstrom- Munksjö's Cellulose Based Media Used as Coverstock for Civil Face Masks

Magnum Health and Safety Produces 1.5 Million Masks per Day for India and Export

Venus Safety and Health is an Indian Manufacturer Focusing on Respirators for Industrial Hygiene

Paladino Provides Consulting Relative to Well Health Ratings

What Works and What Doesn’t for Ventilation, Masks, Monitoring, etc.

New Buildings Incorporating MERV 13 Filters and Separate HVAC and Monitoring on Each Floor

NYC Movie Theaters will Open at 25% Capacity



Renfro Estimates the Sock Market at $50 Billion or Less Than 25% of the Mask Market


Founded in 1921, US-based Renfro Brands is a leading designer, manufacturer, and marketer of socks and legwear products. Since its inception, the company claims to have pioneered some of the earliest innovations in sock manufacturing, from standardizing sock sizes to eliminating toe seams. In a chat with Fibre2Fashion, Stan Jewell, CEO & president of Renfro Brands, discussed the changes in the sock industry, what makes Renfro a unique sock company in the US, and the launch of its new marketplace - Loops & Wales.

Jewell was asked about the market “Various research firms estimate that the world socks and tights/leggings market is a $50 billion industry and they project ~8 per cent expected CAGR for the next five years. We believe Renfro is one of largest sock companies and possibly the largest standalone sock company in the US. It is difficult to determine exact market share but we estimate our share of the US market at roughly 15 per cent.”

Renfro entered the mask market last year. Since the present mask market is more than four times larger than the sock market, it would seem to be a good decision for Renfro to continue to pursue this market. 


Hanes Surgical Mask Receives FDA Authorization

A proprietary surgical face mask developed by HanesBrands with North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and UNC Health has been authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration for use by health care professionals as personal protective equipment.

The two-ply, single-use surgical mask features a unique fabric developed by NC State’s Nonwovens Institute combined with a fit design created in collaboration with UNC-Chapel Hill and NC State biomedical engineers and UNC Health infection prevention experts.

It uses a duckbill shape for better breathability, a wire nosepiece and foam insert to enhance a contoured fit, and placement of stretchable straps for a secure fit. UNC Health tested the masks to assure they meet FDA particulate filtration standards and OSHA respiratory protection program requirements.

“We are delighted to have this mask added to the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization for surgical masks during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mike Abbott, HanesBrands’ director of research and development. “It is a testament to the ingenuity and collaboration of our university partners and our R&D team to quickly develop a much-needed mask that is high quality, affordable and comfortable for health care professionals.”

The FDA issued its Emergency Use Authorization for surgical masks in response to concerns relating to the insufficient supply and availability of disposable single-use surgical masks that provide a physical barrier to fluids and respiratory droplets.

The use of unique spunbond fabric developed by the Nonwovens Institute eliminates the need for a third filtration layer for cost efficiency and filtering effectiveness. The spun-bond fabric is composed of two different polymer materials to make a single fibre that has significant strength and bulk that is as effective in filtration as current materials on the market.

“The Nonwovens Institute is proud to be a part of this collaboration to ensure that high-quality and affordable protective gear remains available to frontline health care workers during the pandemic,” said Dr Behnam Pourdeyhimi, executive director of the Nonwovens Institute at NC State.

The Hanes mask was added to the FDA Emergency Use Authorization after meeting FDA requirements for fluid resistance (ASTM F1862), flammability performance, particulate filtration (ASTM F2100), and breathability (ASTM F2100).

UNC Health’s testing, supported by the UNC School of Medicine Center for Environmental Medicine, Asthma, and Lung Biology and the US Environmental Protection Agency Human Studies Facility in Chapel Hill, demonstrated the masks exceeded expected performance levels and has used the masks in targeted clinical settings.

“We provided the Hanes mask to clinical areas concerned with protection during specific clinical encounters where N95 respirators are not recommended but the risk of Covid-19 exposure is perceived to be high,” said UNC Health’s Dr. Emily Sickbert-Bennett, director of infection prevention at UNC Medical Center in Chapel Hill. “The Hanes mask made these providers feel safe and well protected. I expect we will broaden use of the Hanes mask given the degree of protection it provides.”

The company is selling the surgical masks to health care organizations for use by professionals in health care settings. Separately, the company is selling all-cotton and polyester blend face masks for consumers under its Hanes and Champion brands that are available online, in leading retail stores and in company outlet stores.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the wearing of cloth face coverings to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, especially when social distancing cannot be practiced. Emerging evidence indicates face coverings act as barriers to the dispersion of respiratory droplets when worn over the mouth and nose.

In accordance with the FDA surgical mask Emergency Use Authorization, HanesBrands’ disposable, single-use surgical masks:

  • Have not been FDA cleared or approved.
  • Have been authorized by FDA under an EUA for use in health care settings by health care personnel to provide a physical barrier to fluids and particulate materials to prevent health care personnel exposure to respiratory droplets and large particles during surgical mask shortages resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Are authorized only for the duration of the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of the emergency use of medical devices, including alternative products used as medical devices, during the COVID-19 outbreak, under section 564(b)(1) of the Act, 21 U.S.C. Section 360bbb-3(b)(1), unless the authorization is terminated or revoked sooner.

In accordance with the FDA face coverings Emergency Use Authorization, HanesBrands’ government cloth face coverings and consumer face masks:

  • Have not been FDA cleared or approved.
  • Have been authorized by the FDA under an EUA for use by health care professionals as personal protective equipment to help prevent the spread of infection or illness in health care settings and by the general public to help slow the spread of the virus during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Are authorized only for the duration of the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of the emergency use of medical devices, including alternative products used as medical devices, during the COVID-19 outbreak, under section 564(b)(1) of the Act, 21 U.S.C. Section 360bbb-3(b)(1) unless the authorization is terminated or revoked sooner.

HanesBrands is a leading marketer of everyday basic innerwear and activewear apparel. The company sells its products under some of the world’s strongest apparel brands, including Hanes, Champion, Bonds, DIM, Maidenform, Bali, Playtex, Lovable, Bras N Things, Nur Die/Nur Der, Alternative, L’eggs, JMS/Just My Size, Wonderbra, Berlei, and Gear for Sports. A Fortune 500 company and member of the S&P 500 stock index, Hanes has approximately 63,000 employees in more than 40 countries.

Highly Efficient Masks Greatly Increase In-Flight Safety.

The MID-AFT cabin exhibits the highest infection probability. The calculated maximum individual infection probability (without masks) for a 2-hour flight in this section varies from 4.5% for the ‘Mild Scenario’ to 60.2% for the ‘Severe Scenario’ although the corresponding average infection probability varies from 0.1% to 2.5%.

For a 12-hour flight, the corresponding maximum individual infection probability varies from 24.1% to 99.6% and the average infection probability varies from 0.8% to 10.8%. If all passengers wear face masks throughout the 12-hour flight, the average infection probability can be reduced by approximately 73%/32% for high/low efficiency masks. If face masks are worn by all passengers except during a one-hour meal service, the average infection probability is increased by 59%/8% compared to the situation where the mask is not removed.


Ahlstrom- Munksjö's Cellulose Based Media Used as Coverstock for Civil Face Masks


Ahlstrom-Munksjö's new TenderGuard product portfolio consists of remarkably soft, comfortable, and protective fabrics. TenderGuard BioBased and BioFilter fabrics are designed for civil use and source control for infectious disease. They are biodegradable and compostable under controlled conditions according to European Norm EN13432. TenderGuard Natural and Smooth fabrics are designed for medical face masks. They are protective, hypoallergenic, and environmentally friendly.

TenderGuard BioBased can be used as an inner or outer coverstock layer of a civil face mask. It is highly breathable, biocompatible, and non-irritating, so it's gentle on the skin and comfortable to wear for long durations. Mainly comprised of polylactic acid, which is a biopolymer made from sustainable and renewable sources, TenderGuard BioBased is an alternative to synthetic spunbond material.  

TenderGuard BioFilter is a sustainable filter media that can be used as a single layer or combined as a double layer for higher filtration performance in a barrier face covering. This unique fabric is made up of a special blend of cellulosic and cellulose-based manmade fibers making the filter media 100% bio-based.

"Using technology from our business and the expertise of the medical product development team, we were able to advance product functionality in our smart fiber-based solutions. Having products that are sustainable, renewable, and biocompatible allows for the opportunity to provide environmentally friendly options," comments Stuart Nixon, VP, Beverage and Casing, Ahlstrom-Munksjö.    

The TenderGuard product portfolio consists of protective fabrics applicable for medical use as well. TenderGuard Natural is a wetlaid fabric that can be used as the inner or outer layer of a face mask. It is environmentally friendly, and the hypoallergic inner layer makes it super soft for the wearer. With both layers together, TenderGuard Natural  achieves nearly 50% Bacterial Filtration Efficiency, which is remarkable without a filtration layer included.  

TenderGuard Smooth consists of bicomponent spunbond fabrics that are made with a proprietary technology that minimizes raised fibers. This creates a smooth surface to help eliminate any skin irritation, which is essential when it comes to a face mask. TenderGuard Smooth  is hypoallergenic, so it is gentler on the skin, making it ideal to wear for long durations.  


Magnum Health and Safety Produces 1.5 Million Masks per Day for India and Export


Magnum Health & Safety P. Ltd. is Manufacturer & Exporter of N-95 mask, PE and non-woven shoe cover, swine flu mask, dust mask, tie mask, disposable mask, ear loop mask, bouffant caps, face mask & surgical mask in Mumbai, India.

Magnum Has in house product testing equipment for N-95 Masks, Swine flu mask, Dust Mask, Tie mask, Disposable mask, Earloop mask complying with NIOSH, CE and ISI Standard.

At present Magnum has more than 400 customers all over India covering 60 cities and a daily production capacity of 1.5 million pcs. Products are also exported to USA, South Africa, Mauritius, Mexico, Ukraine, Tunisia & Vietnam.

Magnum has ISO Certification & CE Marking on all their products complying with European Standards.

Other products are as follows: N 95 Masks, PE and non-woven shoe cover, dust mask, filtering half mask, swine flu mask, tie mask, disposable mask, bouffant caps, face mask, and ear loop mask.



Venus Safety and Health is an Indian Manufacturer Focusing on Respirators for Industrial Hygiene


Venus Safety & Health Pvt. Ltd. is a global supplier  of Neck-up Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). It has grown substantially in volume and revenues since its inception in 1986. It has a large manufacturing capacity in Navi Mumbai, India

The processes and procedures in Venus manufacturing plants have been certified in accordance with ISO 9001:2015 and are audited annually by BUREAU VERITAS.


The certified facilities produce and supply products conforming to:

American Standards

42 CFR Part 84

European Standards

EN 149 EN 140 EN 143 EN 14387

Indian Standards

IS 9473 IS 14746 IS 14166 IS 15323 IS 10245(II) IS 10245(III) IS 2925 IS 9167 IS 5983 IS 15322 IS 1628


Paladino Provides Consulting Relative to Well Health Ratings

Paladino and Company is a sustainability and green building consulting firm that aligns sustainability strategies to measurable business value for architects, developers, property managers, and real estate owners.

Amada Cunningham, LEED AP BD+C, Senior Manager,  explained  their work relative to environmental quality. “We work through every phase of real estate development, and our services include sustainability strategy, execution, certification management, commissioning, and reporting.

“We are entering a serious phase of the COVID-19 response with cities coast-to-coast enacting emergency orders to limit spread. The good news about potential vaccines is a light at the end of the tunnel, and commercial real estate owners and operators are looking for smart ways to prepare for a safe re-opening and to communicate crucial information about COVID-readiness to building occupants and tenants.

We’ve extensively covered the COVID-readiness rating systems, and now we are looking more closely at the specific requirements that building operators need to consider as they choose the rating system that best aligns with their goals and values.

“Let’s take a closer look at the WELL Health Safety Rating’s air quality features.

The WELL Health Safety Rating was developed to help building owners adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic. The WELL Health Safety Rating is based on the WELL Building Standard but has fewer features than a WELL certification. Additionally, achieving a WELL Health Safety Rating can contribute to a WELL certification.

Speed was top of mind for IWBI in developing the WELL Health Safety Rating, and the requirements of the rating are designed to be deployed quickly and without major investments. There are 21 design features to choose from, and Health Safety Rating requires achieving 15 of those features. There are five features in the WELL Air and Water Quality Management category, of which three apply to  air quality:

  • Assess ventilation
  • Assess and maintain air treatment systems
  • Monitor air and water quality

Assess Ventilation: This WELL Health Safety Rating air quality feature requires projects to assess their ability to bring in fresh air from the outside through mechanical and/or natural means in order to dilute human- and material-generated air pollutants. The assessment addresses the highest supply rate of outdoor air the current system can provide; potential modifications to system controls to increase the supply of outdoor air; the extent to which the current system can operate without recirculating air; and how/if any of the potential HVAC system modifications would affect energy consumption, thermal comfort conditions, and maintenance processes.

This feature requires an assessment of what the system can handle but does not require minimum performance thresholds be met.

Assess and Maintain Air Treatment Systems: This feature requires the project to inventory air filters and other treatment devices used throughout the building to ensure proper tracking and maintenance. This is important because particles exhaled by infected individuals that contain airborne diseases such as COVID-19 can remain suspended several hours or longer and can be recirculated through the ducts of the building.

To meet this requirement, projects need to provide an inventory of all filters and UVGI equipment currently used to treat the air in ducts and air handling units, fan coil units, and standalone cleaning devices. A qualified engineer will need to assess the highest efficiency of filter media or other particle filters that can be installed with the current mechanical system, and the capacity of the current mechanical system to utilize UVGI equipment. The project will need to provide either the conditions under which the project will install these treatment systems or a timeline for the installation of the treatment systems.

For devices identified in the System Inventory, the project must provide evidence that the filters and/or UV lamps have been replaced according to the manufacturer’s recommendation.

Monitor Air and Water Quality: This feature requires projects to monitor air and water quality at least once a year. The World Health Organization (WHO) and other regulatory bodies such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identify a list of “criteria” air pollutants and have established permissible levels for such criteria pollutants based on epidemiological studies that show the relationships between concentrations of these pollutants, duration of exposure and health risks.

Each year, the following pollutants are monitored (or tested) in regularly occupied spaces:

  • PM5 and/or PM10
  • Total VOCs and/or Formaldehyde
  • Ozone
  • Carbon Monoxide

Bottom Line: The WELL Health Safety Rating offers building owners flexibility for older buildings where it may not be feasible to upgrade mechanical equipment or MERV efficiency at this time. It requires owners to understand their building’s capacity but doesn’t demand that they achieve any particular level of performance in order to achieve certification.

Amanda also addressed the Fitwel Viral Response Module’s Enhanced Indoor Air Quality  the prerequisite is a rigorous IAQ policy that emphasizes source control. Fitwel argues that by managing pollutant and moisture sources, building operators can minimize the pollutants that accumulate in the air in the first place.

The mandatory requirement also requires the assessment and enhancement of ventilation to exceed ASHRAE ANSI Standard 62.1-2019 by 30% for commercial buildings and filtration enhancements including MERV 13 filters alternative options are available for buildings unable to comply with these strategies.)

After closures of two weeks or more or reduced occupancy, the building should be assessed for mold, excess moisture, and legionella. To comply with the prerequisite, a regular inspection schedule should be developed for the HVAC system to ensure indoor air quality after a closure.

While everyone is working from home, this can be the perfect time to remodel or enhance commercial spaces. The Fitwel Viral Response air quality mandatory requirement also includes requirements for the selection of building materials with low emissions and implementation of an indoor air quality plan during construction activity.

There are two key considerations regarding air quality that building operators need to keep in mind for Fitwel Viral Response prerequisite compliance.

  • Buildings must exceed outside air requirements from ASHRAE ANSI Standard 62.1-2019 (commercial buildings) or 62.2-2019 (residential buildings) by 30%. If that is not feasible, there are other options for compliance such as maintaining minimum ventilation levels for the Area Outdoor Air Rate or Combined Outdoor Air Rate.
  • Buildings must use enhanced filtration methods. The primary compliance path is to use MERV 13 filters throughout the building. If that is not possible, either UV lighting technology or mobile filtration units are required.

Amanda further stated “Our team is working with portfolio owners to establish portfolio-wide strategies to deal with COVID (including pursuing Fitwel Viral Response Module certification

“The Fitwel Viral Response Module is one of several frameworks that real estate owners and operators can use to obtain third-party certification for their efforts ensuring their properties are ready for a safer and healthier return to work. Here are six of the lessons that we learned managing the Fitwel Viral Response Module certification process.

Lesson 1: Sick leave may be a stumbling block, and we need to encourage sick people to stay home.

Paid sick leave is one of the required strategies and the certification requires the entity pursuing certification to provide employees with at least one hour of sick leave per 40 hours worked. This adds up to around 50 hours of paid sick leave per year for most full-time employees. The certification also requires that employees be allowed to use sick leave prior to it being earned for that year. It’s important to incentivize sick employees to stay home, and this requirement may demand early conversations with multiple business and human resources leaders to get buy-in.

Lesson 2: Permanently installed continuously monitoring devices are required to get full credit for Indoor Air Quality Testing because air quality is so important to fight airborne virus transmission.

Using a third-party to conduct air testing at least once per year earns 6.52 points and permanent continuous monitoring earns all available points for this strategy, which is 7.42 points.

Lesson 3: The Legionella Water Management Plan can be confusing when setting policies for entities and assets.

The certification requires a Legionella Water Management plan because legionella favors stagnant water. As most employees work from home, the water at the office has more potential for contamination by legionella unless the building management implements preventative measures.

Despite being a requirement at the entity-level, the Legionella Water Management Plan requirement is worded in such a way that it seems to ask for asset-specific information including a flow diagram. The best practice is to keep entity policies high-level and the asset policies more detailed.

In this case, our client’s policy described the entity’s process to require individual building managers to create a flow diagram. This kept the policy broader at the entity-level and was approved by The Center for Active Design.

Lesson 4: Document informal policies

Many of our clients already do much of what is required to achieve Fitwel Viral Response certification, such as installing hand sanitizer stations, and posting signage promoting healthy practices. But many of our clients don’t also memorialize those activities as policies, so the activities can be inconsistently executed across portfolios. The requirement to formalize these policies has been valuable because the process brings clarity and consistency to a portfolio.

Lesson 5: Older buildings may need a strategy to overcome the Indoor Air Quality requirement to use MERV 13 filters.

Buildings with older equipment may be unable to accommodate MERV 13 filters. Alternative (and potentially expensive) compliance is available through UV light or mobile filtration. If it’s cost-prohibitive to meet the Indoor Air Quality requirements, the entity certification can be applied to only those assets that are suitable for the Fitwel Viral Response certification in the short-erm. Additional assets can be added to the Fitwel Viral Response entity portfolio as mechanical systems are upgraded. You may also want to review the WELL Health Safety Rating as an alternative, as it does not include prerequisites – you can learn about the WELL Health Safety Rating Indoor Air Quality requirements here.

Lesson 6: The scope of each strategy will not be the same.

Some strategies apply to employees under the control of building management (which can be fuzzy when an entity seeking certification works with a third-party manager), while others include all building occupants. Some require implementation in spaces within the control of building management, and others require implementation throughout the building. Be careful to be clear on the scope of the strategy before you develop the policy, and not after!

“These are six lessons that we learned, to be added to our collective knowledge and experience. And through this process, our curiosity has been ignited about what comes next for these rating systems and frameworks – as we all learn about what works (and what doesn’t) together, the feedback will inform future releases of the rating systems, and decisions among real estate owners and operators.”


What Works and What Doesn’t for Ventilation, Masks, Monitoring, etc.

The comments by Amanda Cunningham about finding out what works and what doesn’t and incorporating it are in keeping with the multi-step certification process. Just as some masks are 70 times more effective than others, controlling contaminants at their source e.g. HEPA filter air purifiers in elevators make buildings much safer than some practices included in basic rating levels.

The use of outdoor ventilation as a direct tool rather than control of pollutants in the air needs considerable scrutiny. When the wildfire smoke is drifting around California buildings, the minimization of outside air is desired. In fact controlling CO2, pollutants, humidity, and temperature are the priorities. Highly efficient filters in the HVAC system can provide clean air.

Also air flow patterns are critical. By combining local air purifiers with recirculating air the patterns can be optimized to direct air from personnel to the filters rather than from one individual to another.

McIlvaine believes that there are layers of expertise in a multi-step certification process. There also needs be a holistic approach. Eurofins, SGS, Bureau Veritas , UL and others have the capability to evaluate the entire operation and certify “safe bubbles.”  Mann + Hummel,  Daikin, Johnson Controls, Freudenberg  and others have the hardware and controls to make the bubbles safe.


New Buildings Incorporating MERV 13 Filters and Separate HVAC and Monitoring on Each Floor

Many new buildings, like Zero Irving in New York City, will soon feature entirely touchless experiences for employees, from the street to their desk.

Developed by RAL Companies & Affiliates, Zero Irving  is set to open later this year. The building is equipped with state-of-the-art touchless technology that will allow tenants to enter the building using an app on their phones. The app will open the building’s electric revolving doors, get tenants through security turnstiles automatically, and arrive at their floor through elevators equipped with destination dispatch—all without touching a thing. 

Because the coronavirus is easily transmitted through the air, improving the quality of a building’s air through new ventilation and HVAC systems is another major area of redevelopment in many new and existing buildings.

In response to the pandemic, we enhanced our indoor air quality at all of our buildings by adding MERV 13 filters and a technology called bipolar ionization,” said Steve Trapp, senior vice president of construction and development at CXP. 

According to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), using “combinations of filters and air cleaners that achieve MERV 13 or better levels of performance for air recirculated by HVAC systems” is a core recommendation for reducing exposure to airborne infectious diseases.

At Zero Irving, HVAC systems are isolated by floor, ensuring that air isn’t circulating with that of other floors. Tenants at Zero Irving also have the ability to upgrade their air ventilation systems themselves, providing them the option to install high-grade MERV filters or bipolar ionization systems, according to Levine. 

“We also have new air quality monitoring stations on every floor,” Levine said. “This allows for real-time monitoring of the indoor air quality in all of the building’s common spaces.” 

Many believe that in a post-COVID world, monitoring indoor air quality in public spaces may become commonplace.

“We feel like indoor air quality measurements are the types of measurements that will be displayed everywhere in commercial property going forward, just the same way we look at the weather,” said Julie Goudie, communications manager at Sterling Bay, a major developer in Chicago. 

Sterling Bay recently became the first property owner in Chicago to be certified by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) as having achieved the WELL Health-Safety Rating at a portfolio level. The new WELL rating system, developed in response to the pandemic, assesses the ability of a commercial property in reducing the risk of virus transmission and preparing for a safe return-to-office experience.

Implementing outdoor spaces is another key way to limit the spread of the coronavirus in office buildings. The virus is far less transmittable outside, and developers say the addition of outdoor community spaces is a key component of the new focus on wellness in a tenant’s office experience.

At 799 Broadway, outdoor spaces were a key component of the building’s redevelopment plans, which include “terraces on nearly every floor,” according to Trapp. 

“From the moment you enter the building, you are greeted with an outdoor garden immediately behind our lobby desk,” said Teti. “Between access to the outdoors and a lot of natural light, it’s something we’ve truly integrated [into the building].” 

At 141 Willoughby Ave in Brooklyn  increasing the amount of outdoor air is a key aspect of the building’s development plans. Developed by Savanna, an integrated real estate investment managing firm, 141 Willoughby was designed to include 10% outdoor air in its ventilation, a 77% increase of the outdoor air code in New York City. 

“On top of that, we have the ability for a tenant to get up to 40% outside air if they choose, through a newly installed distinct lever system provided to each tenant,” said Peter Rosenthal, director of development and chief sustainability officer at Savanna. 

Developers say they know they have a long way to go in convincing the majority of Americans that returning to the office will be a safe experience—and improvements come at a cost. 

Asking rents at Zero Irving are currently in the low triple digits per square foot, placing it at the higher end when compared to other available office spaces in the area. When it opens later this year, the building’s second through seventh floors will be occupied by a digital skills training center and tech accelerator, while floors eight through 21 are currently being pitched to like-minded tech-focused companies.

While these improvements may cost tenants more, developers say it’s the price of doing business in a post-COVID world in which Americans are prioritizing public health.

“What's really resonating with people,” Teti said, “is the approach to design that suggests that you're really thinking about every employee's experience as they inhabit the building.”

“There’s definitely a new normal,” Rosenthal said. “The pandemic has quickened the pace of the adoption of these technologies. Moving forward, as new buildings are getting designed and built, I’d be very surprised if any of the new innovations were not included.”


NYC Movie Theaters will Open at 25% Capacity

Movie theaters in New York City will be permitted to open for the first time in nearly a year on March 5, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced at a news conference on Monday.

The theaters will only be permitted to operate at 25 percent of their maximum capacity, with no more than 50 people per screening. Masks will be mandatory, and theaters must assign seating to patrons to guarantee proper social distancing. Tests for the virus will not be required.

Movie theaters were permitted to open with similar limits in the rest of the state in late October, but New York City was excluded out of concern that the city’s density would hasten the spread of the virus there.

The virus has battered the movie theater industry. In October, the owner of Regal Cinemas, the second-largest cinema chain in the United States, temporarily closed its theaters as Hollywood studios kept postponing releases and cautious audiences were hesitant to return to screenings. AMC Entertainment, the world’s largest movie theater chain, has increasingly edged toward bankruptcy.

The economic effects of the pandemic have been particularly felt in New York City, one of the biggest movie markets in the United States. Theaters in the city closed in mid-March, as the region was becoming an epicenter of the pandemic in the country.