I recently went out to dinner post-COVID. I have to admit, it was a bit scary. Despite what is going on in our world at the moment, I am grateful to say that this is the first time I have felt fear from going to dinner with friends.
The area we ate was busy and outdoors. When we arrived, we were unable to find a parking space. Different day, same problems. Parking was free in this area. As we circled looking for a parking space, I felt like a fish looking at the world from a bowl.
I took mental notes of each step I made. Door handles. Elevator buttons. People. Yes, we had to take an elevator to get to the restaurant. Four months ago I wouldn’t have thought twice about this and would have probably only observed if the elevator was clean, air conditioned, etc.
While my evening was wonderful, it brought to light so many things that never really mattered before. My mind immediately started listing solutions that we now will use in parking and could have made my experience different: A lot attendant to point out the shortest and safest route to the restaurant. Signage to encourage visitors to use the stairs versus the elevator. Hand sanitizer in the elevator lobby.
Parking professionals are great at sharing solutions and ideas among our network. However, our knowledge can be helpful if extended further given our new normal.
Nicole Chinea, CAPP, is senior project manager with WGI.