Though we often take them for granted, elevators are an essential mode of transport for people who have difficulty climbing stairs or need to travel many floors, especially in critical settings where time is often of the essence. If you need to use an elevator in a hospital or residential or office building during this unusual time, it is important to take precautions because you will likely be in closer than recommended quarters with another person as you ride. We urge you to follow these tips for elevator use if you must be out and about during the COVID-19 pandemic:
Avoid crowded elevators
If the elevator is full or even just has more than one passenger, consider waiting for the next one. If you do not absolutely need to use an elevator to go up or down in the building, consider taking the stairs instead. It’s best only to use an elevator alone or with one other passenger while we are experiencing COVID-19, which is transmitted through respiratory droplets in the air.
Avoid direct hand contact with buttons
Try to avoid touching the floor buttons with your bare fingers. If possible, wear gloves or use the end of a pen or pencil to push the button. If you do need to touch the button directly, be sure to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer as soon as possible after exiting the elevator.
Practice social distancing
If you are in an elevator with other people, try to stand as far from them as possible. If you find yourself in a crowd, you might want to get off at the next floor and wait for the next elevator. If you must cough or sneeze, turn away from others and cover your mouth and nose.
Stay home when possible and only put yourself in public situations when necessary. Ensure that you always wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after being out in public. Respect others’ desire to practice social distancing and use the 6 feet rule. Try not to touch your face or eyes at any time, and of course, if you feel any symptoms, contact your physician or local health department.