COVID-19, most likely, has forever changed the landscape when it comes to safety in public areas. Whether taking precautions to stem the spread of the virus now or to prevent future health issues, church leaders will want to consider incorporating new safety measures in their church buildings. One course of action is the use of touchless safety elements. Here are some that make sense in a future church design, or to retrofit an existing church building to make it safer for attendees and guests.
Dealing with Doors in Your Church Building
There are plenty of doors in any church building, and for safety’s sake, having a way for people to avoid touching their handles is a good idea. Automatic sliding glass doors in supermarkets and other retail stores are a common sight. The good news is that you too can integrate touchless door options into your church building. If you’re starting from scratch, you can include automatic doors with sensors in your church design right from the start. If you’re seeking to retrofit an existing church building, there are automatic door openers that can be installed on existing doors.
Another area of a church building where doors can be a health and safety concern are restrooms because this is one place where people often pay special attention to cleanliness. Avoiding a door handle after washing one’s hands in a restroom has become a more common practice now due to COVID-19. One option is to make certain that your restroom doors swing out from the restrooms, allowing people to push with their shoulder or elbow rather than touch a door handle. If you have the space or are in the design stage of your project, you can also eliminate the doors altogether and simply include sight-blocking walls in your church design.
Incorporating Touchless Features in Your Church Design
Staying with the restroom for a moment, this is another area where further touchless features can go a long way to make people feel more comfortable and safer in your church building. Touchless sinks and urinals are all proven and available technology that you can integrate into your church design or install in a retrofit of your church building.
Among other touchless items that can be used in restrooms and throughout the church are occupancy sensors. These are now required by code in many areas, especially for classrooms and offices, so we frequently incorporate them in our newer church design schematics. These sensors shut off the lights if there’s no movement in the room over a certain period of time. Such sensors can be programmed to turn lights on when they sense movement in the room, which means no one has to touch a light switch at any time.
Bringing Fresh Air and Good Light into Your Church Building
Another safety element you can integrate or retrofit is good light and ventilation. We mentioned the use of UVC lights in HVAC systems to kill viruses and germs, and natural light can have the same effect. Therefore, we encourage church leaders to incorporate good natural light in areas like the church foyer. In addition to making the space feel warm and inviting, it can support a healthier environment. You can also run your HVAC system just before you know people are going to gather for worship and reassure people that they will breathe fresh, or freshly cleaned, air in your church building.
While the coronavirus has made everyone more concerned about health and safety, we have ways to help. In our next article, we will look at safe ways to create space between people. Meanwhile, you can learn the latest by signing up for our upcoming free i3 webinars.