By Lenis Valens, Media Relations Staff
Since March, the usually bustling World Trade Center campus has been eerily quiet. The buzz of thousands of downtown workers heading to and from work, throngs of tourists enjoying one of the country’s most-visited sites, and the ring of cash registers from area businesses has been missing.
But as the summer fades into fall, plans are well underway for the re-emergence of campus life. Signs of renewed energy and activity are evident, beginning to restore the vitality that defines the 16-acre WTC site.
With more of the city able to safely reopen, the announcement of Westfield’s opening on September 9 is welcome news. Doors are open for many retailers who have returned to the campus. One of the staple locations in the Oculus — Starbucks — is open for a caffeine pick-me-up for those working and visiting the World Trade Center campus. Essential businesses such as Duane Reade and Eataly remained open through the spring and summer, with Eataly expanding its operations this week to include outdoor dining on Cortlandt Way. A full list of retailers currently open can be found on the World Trade Center website.
The 9/11 Memorial Plaza, which reopened in July, is now open daily from 1-8 p.m. to visitors. Following this week’s September 11anniversary commemoration, the museum will also open to 9/11 families and to the general public starting Saturday, September 12 with limited capacity.
All this resuming activity is taking place as the Port Authority continues to expand, enhance and improve its safety measures throughout the WTC Transportation Hub for the benefit of commuters, visitors and employees. The Oculus has a state-of-the-art, multi-layered air filtration system that uses High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters able to filter 99.97 percent of all airborne particles. “We have been working tirelessly for months to implement a plan that will ensure the safety of all those who work at or visit the World Trade Center campus,” said Port Authority World Trade Center Director Alan Reiss. “We believe our detailed public safety planning to prevent the spread of COVID-19 will pay off by providing a strong level of comfort to the public while they are on the campus.”
Face coverings are required throughout the WTC campus and ample signage is in place to inform and assist customers and visitors. In addition, surfaces throughout the Oculus frequently touched by visitors are being cleaned continually and all areas are disinfected on a regular basis using EPA-approved and CDC-endorsed disinfectants.
Newly installed floor decals and recorded announcements offer reminders to practice physical distancing at staircases, escalators and elevator cabs as part of the safety program. These measures are coupled with 26 touchless hand-sanitizing stations installed throughout the Oculus.
So the WTC is up, running and continuing to open its arms to visitors.