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COVID & apt. elevatorsJul 15, 2020

Hello,

Does anyone know if there are any new, specific (and legal?) requirements, guidelines, rules, etc. about the following?Knowledgeable answers please.

My 55-unit coop has a small (less than 6' long), old, kind of dirty elevator, with no fans, no moving air, etc. I know the supers are cleaning the surfaces, hopefully daily. But it has a nasty rug on the floor—I've been advocating its removal for years now, to no avail.

But this is the bigger problem, and my question: Yesterday I encountered two different individuals (one going in, a different one coming out) using the elevator without wearing a mask. I then had to enter the elevator immediately afterwards. I was uncomfortable doing so and felt unsafe. Has anyone seen any references to this anywhere?

Thank you!

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Covid and elevators - Marty Jul 15, 2020

NYS guidelines state that more than one person can be in an elevator, but only if they've been sheltering together during the quarantine. Non sheltering people should not be in the elevator together. They should only ride the elevator one passenger at a time.

If you google "NYS elevator covid guidelines", you'll see a link to COVID-19: FAQ for Residential Buildings - NYC.gov.

In part, it states that..."Face coverings should be worn when a distance of at least 6 feet cannot be maintained. To avoid crowding, limit the number of people in the elevator at the same time. People should consider only riding the elevator with their own party, taking the stairs or waiting for the next elevator. (Jun 26, 2020)

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Covid and elevators - DP Jul 16, 2020

Thank you Marty for your reply. Unfortunately, it doesn't answer my question. I'm aware of all you've said. This is something a bit different. The most up-to-date info I've read is that COVID CAN remain airborne. I never go into the elevator with anyone else. I always wear a mask. But if someone in the elevator before me wasn't wearing a mask and has coughed, sneezed, cleared their throat, talked on their phone—done anything that spreads whatever is in their exhalation—a subsequent person in that elevator can be affected. I am hoping the governor will take this into account and not just talk about the 6' requirement, but masks to be worn in a small space PERIOD.

I have already reached out to his office. Let's see what happens.

Thank you.

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COVID-19 Hangtime - Steven424 Jul 19, 2020

Unfortunately, there is no good answer for most buildings. I found this article about the hangtime of the virus in the atmosphere: https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/coronavirus-resource-center#:~:text=Aerosolized%20coronavirus%20can%20remain%20in,up%20to%20three%20hours.

Unless your elevator has surveillance camera monitoring there is no way to know who rode in it before, how long ago, were they wearing a mask, and did they sneeze, cough, etc. It's a reality we all have to deal with. The only alternative I can think of is using the stairs, but that is not an option for many apartment dwellers.

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> Join the conversation Comments (2)
COVID and elevators / COVID-19 Hangtime - DP Jul 21, 2020

Thanks Steven. The article was great & I will share it.
I am presently less interested in identifying those without masks, b/c there's no law, no teeth, about it. And that's what I was asking about. Unfortunately, the answer is "no." Also, I don't need to look at videos... I pass people daily. I see, in real time, who does & doesn't wear masks.

I was hoping against hope that there were some new guidelines for apartment buildings—some rules with teeth. But there aren't. I understand my options and the alternatives, and sometimes I do take the stairs (I'm on the 6th floor). But when I want to go bike riding, that's not an option; I must use the elevator.

Thanks.

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COVID and elevators / COVID-19 Hangtime - Steven424 Jul 21, 2020

You''re welcome, DP. I have the same problem with my bicycle you do with yours. I live on the 5th floor and its a real hassle getting the bike up and down the stairs. Whenever I'm anywhere in my building I have my mask on, and will only ride in the elevator solo.

I doubt we'll see any new laws or regulations with any teeth because enforcement will be all but impossible. No building can afford to have a dedicated elevator monitor, let alone find someone willing to continuously ride up and down in an elevator with potential spreaders while observing people's masking behavior. It seems that when people follow the guidelines we do have (masks and >6' separation), the chance of contracting COVID-19 are greatly reduced.

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> Join the conversation Comments (1)
COVID and elevators / COVID-19 Hangtime - DP Jul 23, 2020

Indeed... And I don't need a monitor, but I did need something in writing. Something clear and specific, where there was none.

So I have made progress, even though there is no law to enforce anything. I finally got the building management to put up signs explicitly about masks in common areas. Four months into this! Now, when I see a fellow resident not wearing one, I can point to the sign and more easily, more safely, ask them to do so. So, that's a start.

Nothing substantial will really happen until this administration wakes up. Personally, I hope when Nov. 4 comes, theirs will be a rude awakening. At that time, we as a society, and as individuals, will have a lot of work to do.

Stay safe. Stay aware. And thanks for your thoughtful input......

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