Header image courtesy of Rob ZS (Shutterstock)
No one really gave much thought to the fact that the many things we touch in a day (and how often we do it) can be covered in all sorts of bacteria, viruses, and germs that we unexpectedly bring home. Now, thanks to COVID-19, we are becoming more and more aware of personal hygiene, the dangers of shared spaces, and how we physically interact with the world around us. As we enter the third wave of infections in Hong Kong, it’s time to get used to living life in a brand-new way. Here are our best tips on how to live a contactless life to not only safeguard our personal health but also help us lead an efficient lifestyle.
One of the more dangerous places for viruses and bacteria to get on your skin is in the lift. Lifts usually tend to be small and compact places that have people going in and out of throughout the day, so even if it claims to be sanitized every hour, it just takes one new person to enter the lift and the risks of infection and high again. One of the places that everyone in the lift will come into contact with is the lift buttons, so here are two ways to pressing the buttons contactless: Use the tip of a pen to press the lift buttons and use pens with caps so that you can cover the tip afterwards. Remember to take the ink out of the pen so you’re not leaving splotches and stains on the buttons! Also, if you are going into the lift after visiting the washroom, use the paper towel that you wiped your hands with to press the lift buttons and throw it away as you exit the lift.
Again, public transports are exposed spaces since you can’t really control who’s travels in the same train carriage or bus compartment as you. There are easy ways to go around it if you drive yourself or get a cab, but not everyone has a car and taxis every day will be very expensive. So, if you end up on public transport, make sure you do your best to stay out of contact with anything and everything. Level up your sense of balance by fully engaging your core muscles and thigh muscles so you don’t have to hold onto any handles or poles and train your body to stay contactless on trains and buses. However, if the train carriage is too packed, you can consider waiting for the next train so you don’t get smushed up against the people around you.
If you still need to be working in the office, lunchtimes are highly dangerous times because that’s when everyone removes their masks. We would suggest that this is the time to stay away from others, since sitting close to each other while eating defeats the purpose of any social distancing efforts made during the day. If you want to be really careful and stay contactless, you can always bring your own lunch and your own cutlery. We strongly advise against eating out if you want to keep to the contactless lifestyle, but you can always order takeaway, just make sure you don't come into contact with the delivery person. You can ask them nicely to leave the bag of food by the office entrance and you can pick it up separately, too.
The best contactless alternative to shopping for groceries is shopping for them online, but if you like going to wet markets or you insist on going to the supermarket, there are ways to stay as contactless as possible. First off, try not to use the shopping trolleys and baskets since anyone and everyone would have touched them throughout the day. Instead, bring your own shopping bag or recycle bag to put the items in before checkout. Secondly, when you’re picking items off the shelf, try to go directly to the product you want so you’re only touching one item at a time and not several items. Even if some people like to hold different fruits in their hands before picking the ‘best’ one, try to judge with your eyes for the time being and stay contactless. Lastly, when you get home, remember to clean and disinfect your shopping bag or recycle bag, something that you should be doing regardless of the pandemic!
There can be many occasions throughout the day for us to come into contact with dollar bills and coins: when we are paying for things and when we are receiving change, just to name a few. There is no idea of knowing where the money has been and how many people it touched before it got into your hands, so the best way is to avoid such risks is to touching money at all. And how do you do that? Unless you’ve been living under a rock, online payment systems are the next best thing that many cities and countries around the world have been adopting. Hong Kong has recently leaned onto this trend with FPS integrated into all banks or with specific apps like PayMe. Except for large sums of payment which may require a credit card, you can deal will most of your payments with these online payment methods as long as the vendor has them too. We heard that even butchers in wet markets are turning to online contactless payment methods—way to keep up with the times!
We just talked about not eating out and not using cash, but of course, there will be moments in life when you can’t avoid such occasions, even during a pandemic. The idea of contactless living and paying is starting to gain traction within restaurants in Hong Kong, where proprietors have replaced the physical menu with online menus to minimise the chances of contact. All you have to do is scan a QR code with your phone and you can browse through the menu, order, and even pay with your phone!
The magic of QR codes extends even to banks, at one of the most publicly used devices—the ATM machine. Banks are starting to prompt the use of QR codes to log into your account and get cash all within your mobile app. All you have to do is log into your app, type in the amount you want to withdraw, scan the QR code at a specific machine, and here comes your money!
We all know that our mobile phones are one of the main sources of bacteria in our daily lives given how often we come into contact with them, so a quick way to try to be as contactless as possible—even with your phone—is using the in-built speech recognition technology. It can translate human speech into automated text, something that we can seamlessly integrate into our everyday lives. This technology is also useful for navigating within your phone, such as commanding it to make a phone call or look up something for you. We can’t wait for the day our hands won’t need to do the work anymore!
We are so used to shaking hands or kissing each other on the face when we greet or meet people for the first time, but if you’re trying to lead a contactless life, then that’s a big no-no. A good replacement for this is a simple nod or a friendly wave, but if you must insist on physical contact, how about an elbow shake or an ankle bump? As you don’t often come into contact with these areas of your body, it carries fewer dangers of contamination compared to shaking hands, and the risk of you absentmindedly touching your elbow or ankle to your hands or face is pretty much zero.