Despite the fact many people don’t feel confident returning to work and other public places, many U.S. states are starting to reopen. Organizations across all industries have been scrambling to implement fast, effective and efficient solutions to minimize individuals’ risk of exposure. One of the most touched spaces are doors and other access points, so it should come as no surprise that retrofitting existing spaces with hands-free door opening can minimize a multitude of skin-to-surface touchpoints throughout the day.

Though the product line has already been in the works, with the onset of COVID-19 and new demand from the market to reduce touchpoints and germ transfer, Rockwood Products, a part of ASSA ABLOY’s Architectural Door Accessories group, released a series of new hands-free door opening solutions to reduce the number of skin-to-surface touchpoints people meet throughout the day, Cris Post, general manager of Rockwood Products, Rockwood, Pa. told SDM.

The arm and foot pulls are an easy-to-install and cost-effective option for hands-free door operation in new or pre-existing openings, which has become a major consideration for facility managers, owners, tenants, employees and the general public to minimize the spread of germs and bacteria.

Originally designed to meet the needs of healthcare and assisted living facilities to reduce hand-to-door contact, the product line was designed to aesthetically and architecturally fit into any new or existing installation.

“With onset of the recent crisis, we know folks from virtually any market far beyond healthcare want and need options to allow them to be safe and confident as businesses start to reopen safely. Going forward, we will continue to see a focus on reducing the transfer of germs and minimizing common touchpoints, so it will continue to be at the forefront of minds everywhere,” Post shared.

“Retrofitting existing spaces to help maximize employee and customer safety is on everyone’s mind as businesses and organizations start to develop their return to work plans,” he added. “We’ve seen incredible demand to bring a high-quality, durable, cost-efficient solution to the market and we are rapidly deploying to customers across North America.”

According to a recent Qualtrics report, the majority of people said they currently do not feel confident going to a restaurant (68%), go shopping (51%), or attend a sporting event (79%). When it comes to returning to work, 66% of people would feel uncomfortable right now and 74% of people agree that they want their work facility cleaned and disinfected regularly upon return. Despite that level of discomfort, many organizations are planning to reopen soon. Limiting contact and exposure with hands-free door hardware has become an important defense in reducing risk for building occupants and guests.

Post said that moving forward from COVID-19, he sees it as being the impetus behind a continued push for hands-free door openings and integration of different technologies in addition to hands-free door pulls, such as a touchless credential, to reduce as much contact as possible. “Automated access will be a complimentary factor,” he said.

Rockwood Hands-Free Arm and Foot Pulls consist of sturdy stainless steel and can be installed on wood, metal or aluminum doors. Additionally, they complement ADA standards and regulations to ensure all openings remain accessible to everyone.

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