Almost every business will want to make a few design or layout changes due to COVID-19. As we move beyond the stay-at-home isolation phase of this pandemic and into the cautious return-to-workphase, everything from offices to restaurants to retail stores will reopen with modifications. One big challenge for businesses—and especially for those with customer-facing operations—will be ramping-up in a manner that does not increase viral spread. Doors are uniquely problematic because no part of a facility comes into contact with more people in the course of a regular business day.
There are readily available technologies that can be quickly implemented to streamline door and access design for smarter, healthier, hands-free configurations. Relating to access design, following are a few enhancement options that we recommend:
- More automatic doors. Automatic door technology has been available since the 1950s, but many commercial buildings still feature manual entrance doors. Any manual entrance door type—whether glass, wood or metal, sliding or swinging—can be converted to an automatic configuration. Consider automatic doors for entrances and for any high-traffic interior doors.
- No more pulls and/or push plates. Motion-activated automatic doors are entirely touch-free and are a further enhancement. Although these features may not be appropriate for every commercial space, there are many conditions where such functions can and should be introduced or substituted for an existing door operator. Consider retrofitting any push-plate installations to allow for touchless, hands-free activation instead.
- Contactless pathways. Businesses want to re-examine interior circulation pathways with an eye on touchpoints; touchpoints or contact points increase exposure risks. Automatic doors are especially effective for high-traffic interior pathways. Keep in mind that many medical facilities incorporate interior automatic doors. Contactless pathways reduce contaminant spread risks.
- Self-sanitizing door handles. Touchless hand sanitizer dispensers or wipe stations at entrances is now expected. Consider also installing self-sanitizing door handles, especially on door operation devices that are frequently used. These handles are coated with a thin “photocatalytic titanium dioxide” layer that automatically self-sanitizes under UV light. Door activation prompts UV-emitting LEDs into disinfecting mode.
- Smartphone-controlled locks. Keys and keycards maintain building security, but these touch points also introduce more contamination risks. Touchless “keying” systems are increasingly installed with Smartphones generally functioning as the driver. These systems are already available through Goji, Kevo, Lockitron, August, and Schlage.
Consider these improvements for your facilities—not only to fight against the spread of COVID-19, but to improve the overall health of any public space. WJCA is committed to improving the environmental health for facilities and spaces. Contact us today or anytime to learn more about how we can help.