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The changing landscape inside and outside facilities has prompted manufacturers to offer a variety of solutions that allows users to operate a door either hands free or completely contact free, says Jay Vaitkus with Norton & Rixson. He adds that traditionally, two key drivers in managers’ decision around exterior and interior door hardware have been:
Says Vaitkus, “Today’s focus on the reduction of germ transmission through frequently touched objects, especially doors and door hardware, throughout public and commercial buildings has driven demand for more hands-free and touchless door-opening solutions, raising the importance of this solution to be another key driver in the door-hardware purchasing decision.”
The interest among managers in minimizing the need for occupants to touch door hardware components actually is not new.
“The perceived need for healthy openings is an acceleration of a trend prior to the pandemic,” Durham. “The marketplace was already looking for healthier or touch-free solutions on high-traffic and riskier openings to mitigate the transmission of disease. Consumers and facility managers were already seeking solutions for restrooms and higher-risk openings associated with food preparation and healthcare applications.”
One major challenge in this environment is balancing this renewed interest with long-standing needs. Consider the challenges facing managers in retail facilities.
“Businesses are looking for ways to make their shopping environment secure, safe and healthy,” Durham says. “Reducing high-touch points decreases the amount of contact, which helps minimize germs. Managers are considering more than ever converting access points to touch-free. However, security is still top of the list, so the interior applications must meet the retailers security and code requirements, as well as safe and healthy needs.”
Balancing all of the issues is part of managers’ efforts to create an overall atmosphere of safety in their facilities.
“Retailers need to ensure the business feels safe and secure to both customers and employees,” Durham says. “Providing secure, touch-free hardware throughout the store promotes a safe and healthy environment, which exemplifies the retailer’s dedication to a healthy and secure environment. As facilities open back up, consumers and employees are more apt to return to a business faster if they feel that all efforts are being made to mitigate the spread of disease within a facility.”
As touchless options for door hardware expand, managers will need to spend more time evaluating their facilities’ specific needs, as well as the features and functions of door hardware options.
Says Vaitkus, “To lessen the spread of the coronavirus, the following factors have become high priorities in choosing hands-free and touchless door-opening solutions.”
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