SINGAPORE — As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to sweep throughout the world, life as we know it has changed. Elbow bumps replaced handshakes, and now, we are not allowed contact with each other at all. For those who still have to go to work, an interesting measure of social distancing in the lifts has been implemented in some businesses—stand facing the wall.
Governments and health bodies all over the world and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have dictated and urged the public to observe strict social distancing. Many across the globe are under lockdown conditions or are following other mitigation measures, and in Singapore, people are sitting further apart from each other while eating or seeing a film and standing far from each other while waiting in line.
At a recent press conference on the COVID-19 outbreak, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong and National Development Minister Lawrence Wong sat one meter apart from each other to set a good example of how to properly interact with others during a global pandemic.
We know about thorough hand-washing, we know about sanitising our hands and our things properly, we know that the coronavirus is passed through droplets, we know that work from home scenarios are encouraged, and we know that we should avoid contact with others as much as possible.
But do you do when you’re in an elevator with other people? Apparently, Maybank Tower has implemented an interesting social distancing measure in its lifts—the floor is marked out with places where people must stand, facing the wall.
Reddit user twanniewan spotted the sign in Maybank Tower explaining the new measure on Thursday (Mar 19):
The sign informed people that the lifts in Maybank Tower had been marked out for social distancing, encouraging people to follow it to prevent the spread of COVID-19. A sample photo on the sign shows people standing in the proper positions—those standing next to the walls were facing the wall, and those standing in the middle were not facing each other. Places were marked for nine elevator passengers.
While it may seem like an odd thing to do, stringent measures need to be taken to combat the spread of the coronavirus, and people cannot be too careful. Standing facing away from each other, not touching anything, will limit the spread of droplets.
Maybank Tower is not the only place implementing such measures. Sawanpracharak hospital in Thailand posted this photo to their Facebook page on Mar 15, along with a post reminding people of how to act admits the COVID-19 pandemic:
The floor of the hospital’s elevators are seen to be marked with places for people to stand, directing them to face the wall. In this lift, it looks like no one is meant to stand in the middle, with everyone lined up at the sides and facing the walls. Places are marked out for eight lift passengers.
จากสถานการณ์ไวรัสโควิด 19 ที่กำลังแพร่ระบาดขณะนี้ โรงพยาบาลสวรรค์ประชารักษ์มีความห่วงใยประชาชนที่มารับบริการ…
Meanwhile, Perpetual Succour Hospital in the Philippines has put in place similar social distancing measures in their lifts. They posted this elevator advisory on Mar 16, reminding persons to “remain COVID-19 free and practice social distancing at all times especially in enclosed areas such as elevators”.
Their advisory shows that lift passengers must be limited to only five persons including the elevator assistant, with one in each corner and one in the middle, with everyone facing in different directions. No one presses buttons with the exception of the elevator assistant.
In the coming days and weeks, it should come as no surprise to any of us if more social distancing measures such as these will be encouraged or implemented.