Current Research Surrounding Social Distancing (April 2021)
Experimental and Numerical Evaluations of Masks and their Ability to Safely Reduce Social Distancing
Together with the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Florida High Tech Corridor, IAAPA helped fund a study by the University of Central Florida Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Center for Advanced Turbomachinery & Energy Research. The focus of the experimental research was to study the effectiveness of wearing face coverings in relation to social distancing as a requirement to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other pathogens and/or disease from one infected person to another. The study was presented to IAAPA recently but has not been published in a journal.
The research explored the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC), recommendation for six feet for social distancing between individuals to help prevent the spread of airborne particles from person to person. This recommendation has served as the baseline for social distancing standards in the United States for public and commercial businesses, including attractions industry facilities.
The six feet social distancing operational requirement has a significant impact the attractions industry and the overall guest experience. It impacts staffing, protocols for operating merchandise shops and food and beverage locations, back of house staffing, overall attendance capacity, queue lines, attraction loading, and more.
The purpose of the experimental research was to study numerical quantifications to determine if the baseline for social distancing should remain at six feet, or if the space could be reduced without compromising individuals’ safety. It looked at social distancing both with the use of face coverings and without.
The results of the experimental study indicate three feet of physical distancing with face coverings is more effective at reducing aerosol/droplet exposure than six feet without face coverings. These results may help attractions as they adjust operating protocols in the wake of the COIVD-19 pandemic.
IAAPA encourages members to read the study in its entirety and consider how its findings could be applied to their operation.
Read and download the study here.
View Mask Effectiveness Videos here.
For questions or additional information about this study, please contact [email protected].