Avoid close contact, clean your hands often and keep high-touch surfaces, clean and disinfected. These are some of the recommendations from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that are the best defense for protecting yourself from the COVID-19 virus. But following these guidelines is challenging when riding an elevator. Let’s face it, elevators are relatively small spaces and you must touch things to make them operate.
The CDC explains that current data suggests the primary mode of transmission of COVID-19 is through respiratory droplets from an infected person that can land in the mouths, noses or eyes of people nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs of those within close proximity. The virus is also believed to spread by touching a contaminated surface and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
So how do you protect yourself and others when riding an elevator? Here are some tips:
Riders should avoid close contact
Elevator sizes vary. It is important to assess the number of riders before you enter.
1. If you are able and have just a few floors to travel, take the stairs.
2. Maintain social distancing.
3. If an elevator is crowded, wait for the next one.
4. If you’re in an elevator that has hit a safe social distancing capacity and someone else tries to get on, calmly and politely ask them to wait for the next one. Something along the lines of, “Sorry, we can’t safely fit more people in here. Do you mind waiting for the next one?”
Riders should clean hands often and avoid touching surfaces in the elevator
1. Don’t lean against the walls.
2. Don’t touch the handrails.
3. Don’t directly touch buttons; cover fingers with a cloth or glove.
4. Do wash your hands immediately after each trip.
Property managers should clean and ventilate elevators
1. Keep the elevator doors open to increase air ventilation during cleaning or when the elevator is not in use.
2. Clean and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces, like floor selection buttons and handrails often.
3. If surfaces are dirty, clean them prior to disinfection.
4. Thoroughly disinfectant surfaces.
5. Using an excessively wet cloth or spraying cleaning/disinfecting solutions directly on elevator pushbuttons/switches could result in damage to the device and/or create an electrical hazard. The use of pre-moistened cleaning/disinfecting wipes, appropriate for the pushbutton and faceplate materials, is highly recommended.
Please also follow advice from the CDC on covering your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover and coughing or sneezing into your elbow or a tissue.
When this is over, we can go back to just dealing with awkward silence when riding an elevator. In the meantime, share this infographic and use these tips to stay safe and healthy.