Safety during the pandemic – innovative sanitation gate for visitors installed at the Auschwitz Museum
Ensuring the safety of Memorial visitors and staff constitutes one of the most important tasks in the reality of COVID-19 pandemic. After the reopening of the Museum for visitors, one of the elements aiming at minimizing the risk of spreading of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus as well as other viruses and bacteria which can be brought inside for example on clothes is constituted by a special sanitation gate which was installed in front of the entrance to the Museum.
The gate which was installed at the Museum constitutes a modified version of the device created initially at the Silesian University of Technology and the WAAM technological start-up for the needs of hospitals fighting with COVID-19. The design developed by scientists, a team composed of both the staff as well as graduates of the Silesian University of Technology, was very successful internationally. The device won one of the prizes in the international Healing Solutions for Tourism Challenge competition organized by World Health Organization (WHO) as well as the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), wining over more than 1100 teams from over 100 countries. It is currently in operation in several medical facilities in the Silesian region and constitutes a perfect confirmation that science represents an important element of the potential of our region in fighting the epidemic.
The model created especially to match the needs of museums was developed in cooperation with the Auschwitz Museum. “We are happy that we are going to be the first museum in the world to apply this innovative solution. Ensuring the safety of our visitors is of particular importance when the entire world of tourism needs to face the pandemic. It is an important step in the perspective of reopening the Memorial Site and restoring visitor traffic”, emphasized Dr. Piotr M. A. Cywiński, Director of the Museum.
“The gate standing in front of the entrance to the Museum differs from similar devices in operation in hospitals and medical facilities in particular taking into account the number of nozzles, disinfection time as well as the applied disinfectant”, said Dr. Anna Wawrzyk, epidemiologist working at the Auschwitz Museum. “Using the gate by persons wearing casual clothes requires optimal and slightly shorter time inside the gate. In this way, it has a biocidal effect, but without negative impact on the disinfected external surfaces. The applied disinfectant is hydrogen peroxide, and not chlorine-based preparation as it is the case in medical facilities. Gate structure has been adjusted to the capacity appropriate for the Museum as well as adapted to the needs of people with disabilities”, Dr. Wawrzyk added.
Sanitation gate is fully automatized. Luminous informative elements installed inside show the user what to do in order for the procedure to be performed in the most effective way. “Gate structure differs from the gates installed in hospitals. It can be noticed already on first sight that it is bigger, more spacious, has wheelchair ramps and protective railing installed. During group visits, the pump is activated after the first person entering the gate, while each next detected by a laser sensor enables the nozzles and signals on the light panel”, said Dr. Eng. Magdalena Bogacka from the Silesian University of Technology, coordinator of disinfection gate design team.
The Museum has already developed new rules for visiting the museum, adapted to stricter sanitary and epidemiological requirements, for example visits with an educator will be organized in groups smaller than so far. The number of visitors on site at the same time will also be reduced. Visitors will also have to maintain safe personal distance. Contactless hand sanitation devices have also been installed in several spots within the Museum.
Information concerning the date of Museum reopening for visitors as well as launching the booking service is to be expected in the first half of the month of June.