If you go to an inn or hotel, you may find a hot spring or a large communal bath. Relaxing in such a place is the real pleasure of traveling. In such cases, when you arrive at the inn or hotel, take a first bath, finish your dinner, and take a second bath before going to bed. Of course, some will enjoy the third bath in the early morning of the next day. Where is the risk of infection in hot springs and public baths?
First of all, you will not be infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the water of hot springs or bathtubs in large communal baths. There is no need to worry that the hot water will be contaminated with infectious virus. In addition, the hot springs and large communal baths are spacious and well ventilated, so there is no need to worry about air pollution with SARS-CoV-2. Since this virus is not airborne, there is no infection by inhaling air.
You will wash your body in shower booth. If there is a screen between you and the next booth, there is no danger of splashes even if an infected person sits next to you. However, if there is no screen, it is advisable to sit in every other seat.
The most dangerous place to be exposed to SARS-CoV-2 is the dressing room. Most people will be removing their masks here. And many people take off and put on their clothes in relatively small rooms. If there is an infected person there, there are other people within the range where the droplets can fly. The way to prevent infection here is to put on and take off your clothes with your face facing the locker or wall so that you do not face other people.
Some may be worried that they put their clothes in the lockers. They are worried that the clothes worn by the infected person will be put in the locker, the virus will adhere to the inside of the locker, and if you put your clothes in there, the clothes will be contaminated with the virus.
If both clothing and lockers are counted as environmental surfaces, it can be transmitted through one environmental surface, such as “infected person → environmental surface → you “. However, the virus does not spread from the infected person to you through the environmental surface three times, such as “infected person → ① infected person’s clothing → ②locker surface → ③your clothing → you”. Therefore, you can put your clothes in the locker.
（Author: Assistant Director of Hamamatsu Medical Center, Director of Department of Infectious Diseases, Director of Hygiene Management Office, Kunio Yano）