Venue operators and other service providers have been warned that the public will expect higher hygiene standards in communal areas following the coronavirus outbreak.

A Kiosk Marketplace survey last year found that more than 70% of respondents were already worried about using public touch screens, with this figure likely to rise following the pandemic according to a report issued by Philips Professional Display Solutions.

With LEDs, digital signage, monitors and touch screens all requiring some form of human contact, be it directly or indirectly, the report suggests those attending public functions are likely to expect greater standards of hygiene when venues begin to open later in the year.

This could have ramifications for venue owners as well as service providers such as concession kiosks that use touch screens or those using fingerprint payment services.

“Little is yet known about the amount of time COVID-19 can remain contagious on hard surfaces, but studies have suggested that other coronaviruses, like SARS and MERS, can stay alive for up to three hours in the air and as much as two or three days on metal, glass and plastic surfaces,” said a spokesperson for Philips.

“If you use a computer or laptop, your keyboard could be up to 20,000 times dirtier than a toilet seat. Pretty disgusting! Similar statistics are prevalent when it comes to other everyday items you encounter, especially when it comes to touch screens used in QSRs for ordering food and beverages, transportation hubs for ticketing, and point of sale displays.”

While members of the public are advised to wash their hands thoroughly and catch any droplets from coughs or sneezes, businesses must prepare to take responsibility for the hygiene standards of their equipment.

Philips suggests the use of antibacterial wipes that are designed specifically to eliminate germs as opposed to simply water-based products, such as baby wipes. Antibacterial non-abrasive foam is advised for equipment with multiple small parts, inaccessible areas, or that are highly sensitive to moisture.

Those who use touch screens regularly are even advised to carry their own stylus pen or wear touch screen utility gloves, again practically eliminating any direct skin contact.

Philips added: “It’s recommended by many microbiologists that we should all wipe down our desks and keyboards at least once a week, while some go even further, suggesting at least once per day. With the current climate, we’d recommend the latter – as a minimum.”

Image: NoviSign Digital Signage