How COVID Changed the Elevator

The COVID-19 pandemic changed all aspects of our lives drastically, including how we use public spaces. Since elevators are such a public form of transportation, how we cleaned and used them changed too. Before the pandemic, we all just had to follow some basic etiquette rules, such as holding the door open for someone, letting others out ahead of you, etc.

How COVID Changed Elevators

It was sort of an unspoken rule to keep our distance from others as much as was possible, more out of personal space issues than health issues. After the pandemic, new public health guidelines were thrust into place that put a priority on healthy use of such spaces, sanitization, social distancing to stop the spread, and more.

Concerns About Elevators Increasing the COVID-19 Risk

Right at the beginning in 2020, no one was really sure how the virus spread. Scientists quickly found out that it spreads via close contact, when people stand or sit about three feet or less apart. They knew that it traveled via droplets from the mouth or nose of an infected person as they coughed, sneezed or even spoke. Those droplets can easily infect another person in a crowded space such as an elevator.
While riding an elevator in close contact with someone infected with COVID-19 can increase your risk, it was determined that the risk of being in an elevator compared with any other crowded space was no different. In fact, it could be less. The CDC advised that exposure occurs when people are less than six feet apart over a span of 15 minutes. Because elevator rides are typically quick, usually less than a minute, the risk of transmitting the coronavirus in this setting was determined to be very low.

Safe Elevator Use Throughout the Pandemic

Several safety measures were put into place to mitigate the risk of exposure in an elevator. Many of these are no longer required, but many people still follow basic sanitary rules, such as sanitizing their hands when getting off an elevator.

  • Masks: Masks were mandated to be used in all public buildings at the height of the pandemic, and that included elevators.
  • Speaking: Because the virus was spread through simple talking, laughing, singing or just exhaling, it was advised to keep speaking to a minimum when riding with other passengers.
  • Sanitizing hands before and after: It was recommended that people wash or sanitize their hands before and after riding an elevator, especially after pressing buttons or the railing.
  • Limit contact: Passengers were advised not to touch anything on the elevator, such as walls, buttons or handrails. Instead, knuckles were a better choice than fingertips. This remains true.
  • Face away from others: Pre-pandemic, it was considered good etiquette to face the front of the elevator, and this was no different during the pandemic. The recommendation was to direct the face away from fellow passengers to reduce the risk of transmission.
  • Social distancing: Limits were put on how many people could ride an elevator at once, usually a limit of four (one person in each corner).

While many of these requirements are no longer in place, the general sentiment has been to be more mindful of contact with public surfaces, maintain social distancing measures where applicable, and sanitize hands when necessary. In light of the pandemic, new elevators are being made with touch-free technology, such as voice-activated controls, and apps whereby you can call an elevator from your phone.

Contact Mowrey Elevator

Even though the pandemic changed the way we use elevators in some ways, they’re still a crucial part of our daily functioning. If you need a repair, parts replacement, or new installation, give us a call today or browse our site to see our offerings.