Elevators And The Virus

Elevators And The Virus

One thing people are concerned about as they head back to work in high-rise office buildings, or stay in hotel towers, is the elevator. After all, most elevators are cramped, enclosed spaces, where it’s hard to maintain 6 feet of personal space. So what are we supposed to do?

Karen Penafiel is the executive director for the National Elevator Industry Trade Association. And she recommends that people face the elevator walls and not talk – to minimize the spread of respiratory droplets. Although she admits it goes against “every social protocol we’ve been raised with.”

Penafiel also recommends limiting the number of elevator passengers to four, one person in each corner. And that’s exactly what they’re doing at the 90-floor One World Trade Center in New York City.

Infectious disease experts at the Washington University School of Medicine say, the risk of infection on an elevator is low, since you’re only on there for short time. Still, they recommend wearing a mask, and using disposable items to touch the buttons – like tissues or toothpicks.

Another option to reduce the need to touch buttons comes from the Otis Elevator Company. They say elevators can be placed in “Sabbath service” mode, where they automatically stop at every floor. It’s a service offered for decades for people whose religion dictates they not operate electrical devices on the Sabbath.