How to stay safe from Covid-19 inside an elevator

Published Jul 2, 2020


DURBAN - For people living in cities, getting back to work during a pandemic may mean taking several elevator rides a day, to and from their office spaces and as most elevators are inherently cramped, enclosed spaces which mean without safety measures in place, elevators could become hot spots of Covid-19 spread.

To mitigate those risks, elevator experts stress that people riding elevators should wear masks, resist touching surfaces as much as possible and use items such as disposable tissues or indeed those toothpicks to touch the buttons.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends limiting time in elevators and taking one-directional stairs instead, when possible, as well as maintaining 6 feet of distance.

“The recommended measures will include: requiring all riders to wear masks; limiting the number of riders; marking paths on the floor to direct people in and out; and posting signs to remind people to not talk unless you have to," said Nancy Clark Burton, a senior industrial hygienist at the CDC.

Digital company Hitachi recommends that people avoid overcrowded elevators and refrain from leaning on walls.

“Do not touch your face after contacting elevator buttons. Wash hands with soap or use disinfectant alcohol.Other things you can do to reduce risk: avoid crowded elevators, stand in opposite corners of the elevator from your co-riders, and take the stairwell as an alternative if you can,” said the company.

While the risk of riding an elevator after an infected person has exited remains unclear, riding with an infected person definitely poses a significant risk of transmission, especially compared with spending time near that person in a less confined space standing as far away as you can diagonally in [the] elevator would be good, and do not speak, experts advise.

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