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The coronavirus pandemic has brought businesses across the country to a standstill, forcing owners to adjust on the fly and implement new systems that allow for safe operation in this unprecedented time. The situation is perhaps most tricky for businesses like bars, restaurants, theaters and music venues that rely on having a high volume of people indoors. If you own such a business, you should be considering how a new or updated ventilation or air filtration system can help you provide a safer environment for your patrons and ease some of the burden of reopening in compliance with ever-evolving local and state mandates.
Does COVID-19 Spread Through the Air?
New research suggests that the spread of the new coronavirus through the air is not only possible, but more likely than previously acknowledged by health institutes like the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control. The most recent evidence was submitted in late June via an open letter to the WHO by a group of over 200 scientists from more than 30 countries that asked the organization to reconsider its guidelines around how the virus is spread and the likelihood of its spread in certain conditions. These findings are still being evaluated, and the results will have an impact on how businesses that cater to crowds indoors will function. Should it be determined that the virus causing COVID-19 can definitely be spread through airborne particles, there will be an even greater emphasis on businesses keeping the air inside their establishments as clean and well-circulated as possible.
How Can Airborne Transmission Be Minimized?
On a personal level, wearing a mask is one of the best ways to prevent exhaled particles from entering the air around you. If practiced by everyone out in public spaces, this can significantly decrease the amount of airborne particles that could possibly carry the new coronavirus. On a larger level, an air filtration or ventilation system is one of the most effective ways that businesses like restaurants, bars and music venues can filter harmful pathogens from the air inside their buildings.
Can Proper Ventilation Prevent Airborne Transmission?
The short answer here is yes, an air filtration system with HEPA-rated filters can remove some particles that may carry the coronavirus from the air. HEPA-rated filters have been proven to capture 99.97% of particles at .3 microns and above. These filters also capture a lower percentage of smaller particles, like the viral particles that carry the coronavirus, which are about .125 microns in diameter. An air filtration or ventilation system is not a cure-all for coronavirus worries, and cannot be relied upon to remove all particles from the air that might contain the virus. It is however an important piece in creating the safest indoor environment possible, along with disinfecting surfaces and social distance measures.
It is also important that an air filtration or ventilation system be properly outfitted for the space it serves, up to date with all maintenance, and equipped with the most efficient filters on the market. If there was ever a time to reevaluate how your ventilation system is serving your space, or schedule a cleaning or maintenance check up, it’s now.
At AME, our experts are up to speed on the latest in air filtration and ventilation technology. We understand that operating a business under the current conditions is extremely difficult, and just as we are during more normal times, we are here to work with home and business owners in our community to find the safest, most affordable solutions possible. If you own a bar, restaurant, music venue or any other sort of business with indoor space and are trying to figure out how you can safely return to operation, give us a call and let’s talk about how an air filtration system might help you get there.