Magnolia Bakery Installing a ‘Cleanse Portal’ and ‘Troffers’ to Keep UWS Store and Facilities Clean

Magnolia Bakery on Columbus Avenue and 69th Street is instituting a new technology to try to reduce the risk of employees and customers contracting Covid-19. The company will use a special kind of UV light known as far-UVC light that’s supposedly effective in killing the virus and safe for humans, according to a release.

The company that makes the technology, Healthe, explained the three ways the technology will be used:

Eater explains more about the technology.

Though these lights by no means guarantee protection from COVID-19, the bakery’s decision to install them stems from new technology that’s been developed by Columbia University’s Center for Radiological Research. While the research team is still testing how effective it is in killing the strain of the virus that causes COVID-19, the research center’s head David Brenner says the results are “encouraging,” according to a news bulletin on the University’s website last month.

Conventional UV light is known for killing viruses, but it’s also harmful to humans. The technology developed at Columbia, however, involves a wavelength of UV light called far-UVC, which in low doses can kill viruses and bacteria without endangering humans, the university’s research shows.

Magnolia is also using traditional methods of cleaning.

“The safety and health of our employees and customers is our top priority,” said Bobbie Lloyd, Chief Baking Officer for Magnolia Bakery. “We’ve instituted aggressive cleaning practices in all of the Magnolia Bakery locations that have remained open for takeout and delivery. With this new technology, we’re able to do even more to ensure the safety of our staff and customers. Healthe’s lights go above and beyond one-time disinfection, they continuously sanitize our locations while they’re in use, ensuring round-the-clock protection for our people.”

FOOD, NEWS | 24 comments | permalink
    1. Janice says:

      If this works, this is a GREAT idea and can be used in restaurants and all grocery stores. Yes, people would still have to wear masks (cause of sneezing/coughing/droplets) but still. Very curious to hear how this turns out.

    2. Amy says:

      I appreciate Magnolia’s effort to think differently, and look outside what is the status quo. If we encourage all our neighborhood spots to do the same, we might actually make some progress. Kudos to Magnolia!

    3. Nathana Josephs says:

      They still need to let fewer people in at a time. In addition, they should not let anyone enter without a mask.

      Customers must use some common sense to space themselves while waiting as well, or the bakery should mark the sidewalk with chalk to indicate 6 feet between customers. The efficacy of the technology is not proven effective, much less effective for preventing COVID-19 contagion.

      • AMY says:

        Nathan … you obviously have not been there in quite a while. Since COVID, that’s been their standard practice. Lines outside and ordering on line.

      • Ed says:

        There is no reason that people standing in a line anywhere cannot self-police. It doesn’t require everyone in line to say something – just the people who care.

    4. Ed says:

      Sounds like a moronic Trump idea

    5. Rachel says:

      Thank you from a devoted neighbor who is addicted
      to the Apple walnut muffins, Yummy banana pudding,
      And everything in your cases!!

    6. UWSer says:

      Hats off to Magnolia for trying something new. We will need to adapt our wonderful city to the new reality. (But maybe try and also control the corwds outside?) Thank you!

    7. Jason & Luca says:

      Three things about Magnolia help it stand out in these trying times:

      1. A fantastic order-by-mail option on their website, that we used to ship Mother’s Day gifts this year.
      2. A willingness to try unconventional ideas like the ones featured in this article.
      3. Their donations to first responders – that the WSR covered earlier this year.

      … we look forward to grabbing a cookie sometime soon.

    8. Chrigid says:

      This is the first I’ve heard of these technologies and without access to some scientific studies, I find the whole thing scary.

    9. Mark Moore says:

      UV light is actually used to treat NYC drinking water. Among other things.

    10. Veronica says:

      I live across the street from Magnolia. From what I can see, they are doing nothing in terms of crowd control and social distancing. The streets are clogged and people are standing on top of each other, many without masks. I avoid that side of the avenue whenever possible.

    11. BJK says:

      UV light? Hmmm. You don’t say. Seems to me a certain President was recently mocked incessantly for weeks for suggesting this. Guess it is a real thing that works.

      • Paul says:

        No, he was mocked for saying that they should find a way to get UV light under the skin.

        Skin is what protects the body FROM UV light which, without that protection, would kill you.

      • Sue says:

        Magnolia are using this to try to deal with virus in the air and on surfaces. The President suggested hitting the human body with UV light to kill the virus in a person. Two different things.
        “Suppose we hit the body with a tremendous ultraviolet or just very powerful light[.]” If he was speaking of killing the virus on someone’s body, it might work, but the context was not that. He even clarified to say he meant to bring the light inside the body.

        • Oyagama says:

          Google: ‘Ultra Violet Blood Irradiation,’ very old protocol for ‘Getting UV Light’ into the blood to kill viruses, etc; also, UV Light stimulates the production of leukocytes to kill cancer. Thanks for opp to share xox

    12. Lori says:


    13. Amy says:

      What a toxic discussion … people not liking UV technology because it may have been mentioned by the administration (who I despise, like many UWS’ers). That’s as stupid as Trump not liking anything and everything that Obama may have mentioned during his presidency.

      Seems like we should be applauding Magnolia for their forward thinking innovation instead of bashing them.

      And as for lines outside … isn’t that the customers’ responsibility – aka our neighbors? Just like it is at the very few neighborhood spots that are still serving the community. Muffin cafe, just down the block is a great example.

      • Boris says:

        Exactly…it’s the responsibility of the public, not the business, to safe-distance on the sidewalk. On the one hand, people here incessantly talk about doing whatever they can to support local businesses. Then they hit the same businesses over the head for not doing business properly when it involves factors that are out of their control.

    14. JerryV says:

      I would like to comment a bit more deeply, as there has been a lot of misinformation. (I became familiar with various types of UV light during my research over many years, as Professor of Microbiology at NYU School of Medicine, with specialized types of microscopes that use UV light to visualize biological materials (fluorescence and laser-beam microscopes). UV light is a high energy part of the electromagnetic spectrum of lights that arrive from the sun. As people may have learned in High School, the parts of the spectrum visible to human eyes start at the low energy, long wavelength color red. As the waves become shorter and more high energy, they range red through orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. I learned to memorize this sequence many years ago as “Mr. ROYGBIV”. When you have light frequencies at lower energy than red, you have infra-red (heat), while frequencies at higher energy than violet yield ultraviolet (UV) waves. The UV light that arrives from the sun is divided into UVA that makes up about 95% of UV light from the sun vs. UVA of higher energy. Both are responsible for skin tanning, sunburn, and skin aging or skin cancers, with exposures over long time periods. The UV light (Far-UVC) used in this system is even higher energy but is filtered out by the atmosphere and therefore has to be produced with specialized UV lamps.

      People here are confusing normal UVA and UVB rays with the much higher energy Far-UVC rays discussed in this scientific paper. People here are correct in noting that UV rays are used for killing bacteria and viruses in hospitals, research labs, and water purification systems but this would be done in closed systems to protect humans from damage, especially to the eyes. The trick with using the Far-UVC rays is that it is delivered in short bursts that do not penetrate skin and therefore are supposed to cause little of no damage to humans.

      You can read the details by googling “Far-UVC light: A new tool to control the spread of air-borne-mediated microbial diseases” (first author is David Welch) to get the full 2018 publication in “Nature”, a highly respected scientific Journal. The publication (submitted by Columbia University scientists) is a well-done and well-described study. The main problem in my opinion will be the ability to transfer a procedure done under controlled conditions in a lab to a large commercial facility. You need large, high quality UV lamps and expensive filters that screen out all but the desired light frequencies. In my experience, these specialized light filters become damaged because of the intense UV light bombardment they are subjected to and need to be regularly replaced. So, this system needs to be scaled-up and extensively tested before it can be applied commercially. This approach should not be politicized. It was published more than two years before President Trump mentioned it and he discussed it as putting UV light in general inside the body.

      I’m not sure what Oyagama was suggesting for “getting UV light into the blood to kill viruses, etc.” The old studies did not irradiate the whole body; blood was removed, irradiated and then returned to the circulation. And I don’t understand his comment that “UV light stimulates the production of leukocytes”. Leukocytes are produced in the bone marrow and I don’t understand how he proposes to irradiated the bone marrow.

      All in all, the proposal by “Magnolia” may be a useful future weapon but needs to be tested more carefully under retail store conditions.

    15. JS says:

      Might this photo have been taken right before Mother’s Day?
      I walk by a few times a week, during the day, and have seen only a few customers inside…..
      and no lines outside.