Tags: Coronavirus | Coronavirus Special | Cold/Flu | elevator | covid-19 | social distancing | pandemic

Elevator Etiquette During the Pandemic

Covid-19 or coronavirus in the elevator, social distancing concept to avoid coronavirus infection in public places
(Dreamstime)

By    |   Monday, 22 June 2020 05:42 PM

There are new rules for riding in an elevator. As workers return to their offices and people venture out for medical appointments and shopping, they might be facing an awkward situation that does not lend itself to the 6-foot social distancing formula that we have been trying to follow.

By its very nature, riding in an elevator means sharing a tight space with strangers.

According to The Washington Post, as long as everyone wears masks, it should be fine. Health officials ask elevator riders to tap buttons with an object, knuckle, or elbow and avoid speaking. If riders follow the new rules, "there's essentially no risk in an elevator," infectious disease expert Colleen Kraft, associate chief medical officer at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, told the Post.

"It is a short period of time," she said. "If you are wearing a mask and others are masked in the elevator, I don't think it poses any risk." Experts said intensity, frequency, and duration are the three factors that increase our risk of infection.

Joseph Allen, director of the Healthy Buildings program at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told the Post, workers probably ride office elevators twice daily for a minute or so. He said restricting occupancy and enforcing a no-talking rule can minimize risks. Both Allen and Kraft emphasized the wearing face coverings is essential.

New York office workers are permitted to return to their buildings Monday, said the Post. That city's reopening guidelines mandate that elevators in office buildings stay below half-capacity. Employers "must advise workers and visitors to wear face coverings in common areas including elevators," according to the reopening plan. 

According to Allen, one person in the elevator can select buttons for everyone, and lines in the lobby should be formed to prevent crowding. Businesses can stagger the work hours of their employees to avoid a 5 p.m. crunch, he told the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

He also suggested people file into elevators in a checker board pattern and face front. Elevator operators need to clean and disinfect surfaces frequently, and signs should be posted to ensure everyone understands the new elevator etiquette.

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As workers return to their offices and people venture out for medical appointments and shopping, they might be facing an awkward situation that does not lend itself to the 6-foot social distancing formula that we have been trying to follow.
elevator, covid-19, social distancing, pandemic, face masks
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2020-42-22
Monday, 22 June 2020 05:42 PM
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