While most Singaporeans are cooped up at home practising social distancing, there are still a handful of people driving to places for food or medical supplies and essential workers commuting in their cars during the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). This only indicates that the occasional visit to the petrol station is evidently inevitable, as is touching the pump handle and payment keypad.
According to UPI, a study conducted by Kimberly-Clark Professional revealed that 71% of pump handles were found to have high levels of contamination. Of course, electric car drivers are at an advantage since refuelling can be done at the comfort of their homes. However, can gasoline cars pump petrol safely with the coronavirus living on surfaces for hours, if not days?
The easiest method is to wear protective cloth, leather or rubber gloves, but avoid using a latex pair as doctors need them more than you do. If you do use a glove, make sure it has its own special place, like in the pocket on the side of your car door. Use it to open your gas tank, hold the gas pump, and handle the transaction. Then, sanitize your hands after taking it off.
If you are not already carrying alcohol swabs in the car, now is a good time to start. Assuming you have some available, wipe off the pump handle, touchscreen, or any other surfaces you plan to touch before your hands make contact. Even better, it might be a good idea to search out a station that accepts contactless payment at the pump, so you won’t need to come into physical contact with the touchscreen or anything else other than the pump handle.
As for social distancing, it is convenient that gas pumps are relatively far apart from one another, contagion-wise, but even so, choosing to fill up your tank at an off-peak time can be safer. If there are other people getting gas at the same time, keeping at least six feet between you and them is a good idea for everyone involved. And it should go without saying that you shouldn’t go into the store unless there’s a reasonable need to do so if there’s still a rapidly spreading disease going around.