As we forge ahead with the COVID-19 vaccine, hopeful questions are raised. Is it now safe to eat in a restaurant? Safe to go back to school? At long last, is it safe to be fully out in the world? Not quite yet, but we are getting much closer to gathering safely.
According to updated CDC guidelines, it’s still wise to avoid large gatherings for the time being. This is particularly true if:
- Your community is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases.
- Six feet of social distancing will not be possible at the event.
- Attendees are likely to forgo preventative measures, such as social distancing or mask wearing.
At the same time, most states are already relaxing or removing event size restrictions. That means more opportunities for public and private gatherings in the weeks and months ahead. In addition to the points made by the CDC, here are three important steps for coming together safely.
1. Cleaning and Disinfection
Even if some or most attendees will be vaccinated against COVID-19 at an event, disinfection is still critical to gathering safely. Disinfection both protects those unable to be vaccinated and helps prevent future outbreaks.
If you’ve been responsible for maintaining any kind of facility over the past year, no doubt you’ve learned the disinfection best practices by heart. We’ll give a concise recap of the process below, but if you want more detail check out our Office Disinfection 101 and Restaurant Disinfection blogs. They break down all the steps that different types of facilities should take when disinfecting.
Briefly stated, proper disinfection for events includes:
- Cleaning high-touch surfaces with soap and water, then applying a disinfectant to eliminate pathogens.
- Restricting or closing unnecessary areas to limit the potential points for cross-contamination.
- Having your disinfection routine planned ahead of time to ensure sufficient supplies in stock and sufficient staff and time allotted.
- Using a touchless disinfecting solution that eliminates the risk of cross-contamination due to direct contact with surfaces. Electrostatic and Airless sprayers are a top choice for this.
2. Ventilation and air quality
In addition to keeping surfaces safe, we must keep the air as healthy as possible. Outdoor gatherings will remain the safest choice for a long time because of this. When we’re out in the open, anything we breathe out dissipates far more effectively.
If a gathering is indoors, open as many doors and windows as you can to create abundant cross-ventilation. If you can’t open up or if your space has limited doors and windows, then air purification is the way to go.
There are a lot of air purification options on the market, some well-tested and others not. Be sure to look into the technology behind any air purifier you want to purchase to see if it has the data to back it up. At EnviroPro Solutions, we sell Novaerus air purifiers, which use plasma coils to zap pathogens and obliterate them. You can check out the extensive research Novaerus products have been subjected to here.
3. When in doubt, don’t show up
This step applies equally to all attendees and/or staff. Even if you’ve been vaccinated, take the extra precaution of staying home if you’re experiencing any COVID-related symptoms.
Thinking beyond the pandemic, all three of these steps will continue to be important even as the risk of a serious COVID-19 outbreak is minimized. Other diseases such as measles, ebola and even common influenza are still out there and still capable of causing serious harm if we get careless.
Disinfecting properly, monitoring air quality and staying home when feeling sick are steps we must keep taking for the rest of our lives. They’re easy to do, and they help to protect both ourselves and our communities.