David J. Danto


Business travel thoughts in my own, personal opinion




eMail: ddanto@IMCCA.org      Follow Industry News: @NJDavidD


Packing Protection


Growing up in Brooklyn as I did, the phrase “packing protection” meant something completely different than it does today.   I’ll let you imagine what the street-corner kids thought that phrase meant, as I won’t go into it here, but in today’s horrific COVID19 world, it’s taken on a very different meaning. 

Just what we can do to protect ourselves from the deadly virus now spreading across the world is a subject that I’d prefer to leave to experts smarter about it than myself.  Regrettably, there has been so much politicization and so much misinformation that I thought it valuable to share with everyone what I’ve taken away from all of my research, and the steps I’ve taken to minimize my exposure.  I’m 100% sure that the steps I’ll list here are not going to be to everyone’s liking, and will provoke disagreement.  I share them only to let you know what I’m doing to protect myself and my family.  Feel free to adopt or wholly reject any of them as your sensibilities and risk-tolerances allow.   I’ve included links to all the products I’ve mentioned here so you can see where they are available.  This is not an endorsement of the merchants, just something to help you find things more easily.

Point number one before I begin is we don’t know everything about COVID19 that we need to yet – and we probably won’t for years.  I’ve read stories that the virus can “live” (for lack of a better word since that is inaccurate) for different lengths of time on different surfaces.  ‘Just leave your groceries or boxes on a table for a few days and they’re going to be just fine’ is the prevailing thinking.  I’ve read that, but then again I also read that inspectors went on to cruise ships weeks after they were emptied and still found active virus on them.  Until the science is better and the virus is better understood – or – until we have better treatments for people who catch it – I prefer to take every precaution I can.

Shopping – at merchandise stores my family and I will always wear our cloth masks as a courtesy to other people.  I’ve modified these masks to take PM2.5 filters (by slicing a slit on the far side of the inner layer) and I insert two filters to cover the entire area – with lots of overlap in the middle.   Evidence is mounting that the more layers you have the better the protection.  We’ll sanitize our hands upon entering and upon leaving, and spray down anything we’ve purchased with alcohol when we arrive home, but that’s about all we do.  When we go grocery shopping it’s a bit of a different process as we wear protective gloves in supermarkets, where we think the likelihood of many people touching an item before us is very high.  When we get back home, again, everything gets sprayed with alcohol and wiped down – except the produce.  That is washed in the sink with a mild dish-soap and water combination (1 part soap to 15 parts water.)  Any bags we used are disposed-of.

Deliveries – Anything that arrives to our home is sprayed with alcohol and wiped-down.  This includes groceries as above, mail, packages – everything.  When shipping boxes arrive the box is not sprayed but rather broken-down and bagged so our pets can’t accidentally brush against it.  The contents are sprayed and wiped.  If it’s cloth or clothing we just set it aside for a week and don’t bother spraying it.  We either spray with alcohol and wipe down or Clorox wipe the doorknobs and mail-slot at least once a day.

After completing the cleaning of all of the items above we wash our hands – often using a medical grade cleaner we have set-up in a pump bottle by the kitchen sink.  These are the pump bottles we use for the cleaner and for the dish-soap and water we mentioned above.

Riskier Locations – If we are going to a location where we feel the possibility of being exposed to the virus is higher – like a restaurant or a doctor’s office (or heaven forbid, an airplane) we put aside our cloth masks and use a KN95 mask.  Here is a great site that compares the difficult to find US N95’s rating with the more readily available Asian KN95’s rating.  It is important to realize that these mask ratings relate to the filtration, but not the size.  We’ve purchased a dozen different types of KN95 masks, and each fits slightly differently.  You have to try a few to find the ones that are good for your face, and that varies from person to person.  Also, spend the extra pennies and get an ear protector – they make the mask much more comfortable to wear. 

All of the above should IMHO be pretty standard.  Here’s where I delve into things we do that I admit are a bit further out there than the norm, but they make us feel safer.

Outdoor Dining has been back in our area since the mid-summer.  We each carry a small spray bottle filled with alcohol.  When we go to a restaurant we spray the table and chairs, spray the cutlery, and spray the outside of any glasses.  It’s simple, quick, and probably unnecessary, but it definitely makes us feel better.  We keep similar bottles in our cars so we can spray the surfaces there between drivers, or our hands after we’ve removed our shopping gloves.

Indoor Dining (at 25% capacity) has just returned to our area, and not every restaurant is keeping their doors and windows open for fresh air like the recommendation states.  We just purchased a portable air purifier that – as silly as it seems – we will take with us and keep on the table to clean the air around us as we eat.  All of the battery powered purifiers we’ve found are generally garbage – with fans that are too weak to move any air and no other safety measures except for a filter.  This unit – which looks like a speaker—is not tiny, but is easily carried to restaurants, and contains both multi-stage HEPA filtration and a UVC disinfecting light. 

The fan is quite powerful.  I purchased this battery pack with a built-in inverter and tested it with the purifier.  It worked great on the medium setting for over four hours (with the UVC light on.)  It is our plan to bring these together to any restaurant and set them on the table while we eat.

Hotels – For the few local resort stays we’ve had during the pandemic, after spraying and wiping-down everything in our room with alcohol, we set-up this slightly larger purifier to cover the entire hotel room.  It’s easily packable in our suitcase and seemed to work great – again giving us more piece of mind in these crazy times.  We asked for extra towels upon arrival (and sprayed them too) but then – for two night stays – kept the do-not-disturb sign on the door, refusing unnecessary maid service.

Should you follow our lead with the above items and steps?  Lord knows.  Many have said this is way overkill as far as safety is concerned, but then again, many others have gotten sick or died.  Don’t look at me to tell you what to do.  I’m only sharing these to let you know that they are the steps a reasonable person is taking, and if you like any of them, to give you the benefit of my research and trials.  Please feel free to write to me if you are employing any different or better safety steps or gear and I’ll be sure to update this blog and let everyone know your ideas.

Stay safe, be well, hug those you’re sheltering with (but no one else) and do your best to stay positive.  We’re going to be in this for a long while. 

This article was written by David Danto and contains solely his own, personal opinions.

All image and links provided above as reference under prevailing fair use statutes.