A clean environment is of the utmost importance in this new reality. At Winnipeg Richardson International Airport, the team is sourcing every tool, solution and technique to keep the facility they often refer to as their home clean and safe for all.
"The airport is like our home," said Sherry Moulden, Manager of Custodial Services. "We want to make sure everything is taken care of and clean. There's a huge sense of pride within our cleaning staff of working at the airport. They take it seriously and want to bring it to another level."
All high-touch surfaces and common use areas are being disinfected frequently, and in some cases, momentarily, through a combination of teamwork, manual labour and modern technology. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Winnipeg Airports Authority has turned to innovation to further enhance cleanliness inside YWG. The latest piece of technology to bolster the YWG Clean Program is a UV-C handrail sterilizer on the escalator in the Arrivals Hall.
Upon arriving in Winnipeg, travellers flying domestically can confidently hold the handrail when going down the escalator knowing there is a small device inside emitting strong ultraviolet light wavelengths to destroy 99.99% of harmful bacteria. The surface is kept clean and free of any potential germs, helping contribute to a healthy airport.
"Anyone arriving domestically in Winnipeg will use that escalator," said Shaen Mason, Manager of Facilities Performance. "Because this is a high-touch point, this will further help prevent the contraction of viruses or bacteria."
Every inch of the handrail passes by the sterilizing device as it is mounted inside the escalator near the motor. The small, delicate piece of technology is purposefully tucked away to prevent it from being damaged. Four LEDs along with built-in side reflectors help ensure all angles of the handrail are exposed to the UV-C light. The handrail sterilizer on the escalator in the Arrivals Hall is the first to be installed by Otis Elevator in Winnipeg.
"We have to figure out new ways on how to be cleaner and how to be safer," said Mason. "It's our responsibility to take care of our travelling public, guests and stakeholders."
The handrail sterilizer marks the latest addition to airport's much larger, comprehensive YWG Clean Program.
Since the onset of the pandemic, the program has embodied all of the new actions being taken at YWG to promote public health and meet increased standards for cleanliness across the board. The cleaning team is going through double the amount of disinfectant solution, increasing their routines, such as cleaning washrooms on an hourly basis and moving through the terminal on a set schedule to be in critical areas when needed most. An electrostatic sprayer is disinfecting all high-touch areas and Enhanced Cleaning signs are displayed throughout the terminal showcasing high-priority cleaning locations, such as kiosks, elevators, ATMs, etc.
While these efforts are making a great difference at YWG, so is everyone's commitment to following best practices.
With approximately 10 per cent of YWG's usual foot traffic inside the terminal, or even less, hand sanitizer usage has jumped from going through a 1.2 litre jug every two weeks to emptying 10 bottles a week. There are more hand sanitizer stations available during each step of the traveller experience, including at check-in, before and after security, at the gate and upon arrival, plus in many high traffic areas.
As part of YWG's dedication to provide a safe and healthy atmosphere for travel, new measures are constantly being implemented in all areas of the airport. Initiatives are added or expanded in collaboration with public health authorities to meet the highest standards. For more information, please visit the YWG Clean Program web page.