Elevator Etiquette in the Time of COVID-19Michelle
In the midst of the current COVID-19 crisis, avoiding crowds of people and high-traffic areas is a vitally important part of slowing the spread of the virus. Social distancing protocols recommend keeping at least 6ft of distance from other people, but in some cases that is easier said than done. Navigating elevators can prove especially tricky right now, given their smaller square footage and many touchpoints. To help, we’ve gathered our best tips for elevator etiquette – read on to learn more!
Avoid Elevators With More Than Two Other People
One of the best ways to maintain social distance in an elevator is to decrease the number of people inside. Try to avoid having more than 2-3 people in the elevator at a time (for the average-sized elevator – in a larger one you could have more). This may take some getting used to. After all, if you’re already in an elevator with two other people, and someone else wants to get in, you may need to kindly but firmly ask them to wait. This might feel uncomfortable (especially for us Minnesotans – we don’t want to be rude!), but it may be part of our new normal for a while. There is one exception to this rule – family members that are socially distancing together can take the elevator together, even if there are more than 2-3 of them.
Give Yourself Extra Time to Get Where You’re Going
Making this change may mean it will take you longer to get where you’re going. Whenever possible, try to plan ahead and budget extra time into your schedule. That way, if you need to wait for an elevator with fewer people in it, you won’t have to worry about being late.
Stand 6ft Apart and Face Away From Each Other
Once you’re in the elevator, maintain the recommended 6ft distance (or as close to that as possible). Some buildings are beginning to mark designated spaces on the floors of their elevators, but if that’s not the case, just do your best to estimate. Also, turn to face away from the other people in the elevator to help minimize the likelihood of spreading germs.
Cover Your Cough or Sneeze
This one may be common sense, and certainly applies all of the time – not just in an elevator – but it’s worth mentioning. If you do need to cough or sneeze, cover your face with your elbow (not your hands!) or a tissue, as per the CDC’s recommendations.
Try Not to Touch Elevator Buttons With Your Bare Hands
Since elevator buttons are touched by so many others throughout the day, it’s best to try not to touch them with your bare hands right now. Use a sleeve, glove, or other cloth to cover your hand, or try using an elbow. If you do touch the buttons or any other surface with your hands, try not to touch your face until you’re able to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer.
For Building Maintenance – Sanitize Elevator Surfaces Often
This one is for building owners and maintenance staff. It’s especially important right now to thoroughly sanitize all elevator surfaces regularly – preferably multiple times a day whenever possible. We’ve included a handy graphic to make sure you know the proper way to clean your elevator buttons. Take a look below: