What Do We Need to Feel “Safe” As We Visit Reopened Venues? by Roberta Rosenberg - Destination Accessible US, Inc
After months of “staying home” during the Covid-19 Pandemic, businesses are slowly reopening. Many of us are preparing to venture out to visit them. “Fear is an emotion we do not need to feel when we return to stores, restaurants, etc., after the shutdown.” (LoopNet 5/27/20) What kind of environment do you/I want/need to make us feel safe enough to go to a venue that we may have frequented in the past, or visit a new one?
I would like to think that everything businesses are doing is a work in progress. Hopefully, they are doing everything they believe they need to do, while at the same time reevaluating what they are doing on an ongoing basis. Businesses need to make things the best they can be, based on the latest information they receive.
That being said, what do you and I need to feel safe when visiting a store, restaurant, museum, or other venue? I am not including theaters, because we do not have enough information about them yet.
After doing quite a bit of reading, listening to a variety of business and government leaders, and reaching out to friends and family, I have put together some guidelines which I hope will be useful to you. It is not intended to be definitive by any means. There are probably things I have not included. (I would love your comments/suggestions - see below).You may need to have all of them in place when you visit a venue. You may only need to see some of them to feel comfortable. What you/I do is up to us, because in the end, it is up to each of us to stay as safe as possible.
- I would suggest, as a general rule, before going to any venue, visit their website, and/or social media platforms to see what they are saying about their own proactive safety measures. For myself, if I do not feel they are offering enough information, I may feel they are not doing enough, and I may not want to visit them yet.
I have heard that a “pledge” will soon be offered for businesses to sign, stating what they are doing for our safety. It may be posted on their website and/or in their windows for all to see. That sounds like a good idea. Look for it! I will.
- If I decide to visit a venue, what will I be looking for when I get there, before I enter ?
- Have they made distancing guidelines outside the venue if I need to wait to enter?
- Are there any signs (and/or the “pledge” ) clearly visible for all to see about their preparedness?
- If there are steps or a ramp, is there hand sanitizer available to me before I need to touch any handrails?
- If there is a “push button assist” door opener, is there sanitizer available to wipe it?
- Are there hand sanitizers available before entering? Is the door open or do I need to open it myself?
3. What do I need to see once I am inside?
- I need to see signs that the space has been thoroughly cleaned
recently. Do I see fingerprints, stains, etc?
- I need to see signage stating when the space was last cleaned,
who is doing the cleaning, and details of a regular cleaning/sanitizing program.
- I need to see highly visible hand sanitizer stations throughout the venue.
- I need to see signage that clearly explains their practices, such as limiting capacity, social distancing standards, payment methods, cleaning procedures, etc. that show an organized approach to keeping patrons safe.
- I need to see a visible increase of ongoing cleaning practices while patrons are there. I need to see personnel dedicated to disinfecting surfaces like counters, tables, etc.
- I need to see signs that personnel have been properly trained, wearing masks, gloves.
- I need to see adjustments in the physical space, including traffic flow, barriers between employees and patrons, and number of people inside.
- I need to know how the restrooms have been kept as clean as possible for me to use. If I need to open the door are wipes available? Are there automatic faucets and flushers. Are there automatic soap dispensers? Are paper towels available instead of automatic hand driers? If I need to touch a door handle to exit, are sanitizers available close by? As I said at the beginning, these are only suggestions, offered to help you make a personal decision about visiting a reopened business.
In closing, one of the best things I heard someone say was , “If it looks like the old and familiar “business as usual” I might just want to rethink visiting that venue at this time.
Roberta Rosenberg is the founder of Destination Accessible US Inc. a non-profit organization dedicated to providing first-hand, accessibility information of leisure locations for people with mobility challenges.
I would love to hear from you regarding your thoughts. Comments/suggestions are always welcome.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a
message at www.destinationaccessible.org.