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CNY company donates air purifiers to Syracuse businesses hit hard by pandemic

CenterState CEO
David Hoyne with donated air purifiers.

A company out of Pulaski has been donating air purifiers to some Syracuse businesses hit hard by the pandemic. Restaurants in particular, hope this added safety measure lures more indoor diners downtown.

HealthWay Family of Brands donated 18 of the small air purifiers to restaurants, a day care and the Onondaga Historical Association, according to company president Vinny Lobdell.

"This is a small 500-square-foot unit that’s built to change the air in a space two to three times an hour,” Lobdell said. “We’re delivering filtration at essentially 100% efficiency in removing all small, viral-size particles.”

Restaurants see it as another tool to ensure customers that they are making their establishments as safe as possible, according to David Hoyne, who owns Kitty Hoynes in Armory Square.

"Restaurants are still kind of hanging on there,” Hoynes said. “Anything we can do to put a positive image out there, to regain the trust and confidence of the customer, we will certainly do it.”

The pandemic has been especially tough on the restaurant business, between state ordered closures and limited seating rules. Merike Treier, executive director of the Downtown Committee of Syracuse said she can’t think of a restaurant that’s closed down solely because of the pandemic. She credits those small businesses for figuring out how to deal with the shutdowns.

"We saw a number when the pandemic started, start to pivot,” Treier said. “Think of some of the bakeries. When indoor dining wasn’t allowed, baking at home became popular, so many pivoted to offer take-home bake kits.”

Onondaga County sales tax numbers show receipts at restaurants down over 20% in 2020.