Riding elevators and escalators in the new normal
Lockdowns in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic are easing up, so shared spaces like elevators and escalators are filling up with office workers and mall-goers again.
International Elevator & Equipment, Inc. (IEE), a group company of Mitsubishi Electric, shares the ‘new normal’ elevator & escalator etiquette for riders amid the pandemic:
MAINTAIN PERSONAL SPACE. Social distancing is enforced as a primary measure of avoiding person-to-person contact. Wait for an uncrowded elevator car and observe a safe distance at all times by following any markings on the car floor that indicate the prescribed distance.
NO CONVERSATIONS. Authorities advise against chatting and answering phone calls in enclosed spaces such as elevators and trains. Talking with others on the escalators is also discouraged as people tend to forget to keep their distance from one another. Speaking poses a risk in the spreading of viral droplets, especially when the mask is worn improperly (i.e. doesn’t cover the nose or hangs loosely on one ear). The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also warns about wearing masks with valves as it only protects the wearer, and is not meant for medical purposes.
AVOID DIRECT CONTACT. Limiting our physical interaction with objects and surfaces also keeps us protected from acquiring (or contaminating it with) the COVID-19 virus. Using an acrylic keychain tool to push elevator buttons and ATM keypads is the new practice. Touching the escalator handrails may be unavoidable, as it keeps you from falling over, so always keep in mind this next tip.
SANITIZE YOUR HANDS OFTEN. We touch our faces more often than we realize. According to a 2015 study, an observed group of medical students touched their faces about 23 times in an hour, mostly around areas where microbes can enter the body (eyes, nose, and mouth). This is where regular hand washing comes in to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Wash with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds or, if not available, use 70% alcohol or sanitizer.
Residential and commercial building owners continue to uphold the safety of its riding public by implementing cleanliness and sanitation products with innovative solutions, even in elevator cars.
MAXIMIZE TECHNOLOGY. An ideal implementation of physical distancing guidelines in elevator use would include contactless access where users get an elevator car to their destination floor as they scan their security-issued ID card. This should be complemented with user-friendly solutions that can accommodate new normal guidelines without sacrificing efficiency of service together with enhanced security measures to help keep the facility secure.
Keeping up with the times to “change for the better” is Mitsubishi Electric and IEE’s commitment to their clients. The brand’s MELESAFETY-PA provides a simple way to control access to elevators and rooms in office and residential buildings as well as factories, following a four-level security feature. Meanwhile, the Sigma AI 2200C group control system offers intuitive operations of elevator cars, managing allocation and reduction of travel time and long waits, plus enhanced convenience of the MELESAFETY-PA through the Destination Oriented Allocation System (DOAS®).
ENCOURAGE HEALTHY BEHAVIORS. Establishments should provide educational materials by posting signs on physical distancing, proper hand washing, and cough covering in high visibility areas. Consistent reminders through a public announcement system is also beneficial. Allocating alcohol and/or sanitizer dispensers near entry points, elevators, and escalators, and soap in public restrooms are also a must.
REGULAR DISINFECTION. Maintenance staff at offices and malls now follow enhanced and increased sanitation of the premises, as often as every hour, paying attention to grab rails and buttons. Putting up signages as disinfection activity is in progress lets people feel safe.
Let us keep in mind that as we protect ourselves against COVID-19 and follow these simple practices while riding elevators and escalators — and even well beyond that — we are also protecting others.