Tips For Visiting The Mayo Clinic During A Pandemic
The Mayo Clinic is one of the world’s premier medical facilities, and I am fortunate to live close to Rochester, Minnesota. In about 90 minutes, I can arrive at the entrance of the clinic in downtown Rochester. During a pandemic, it’s hard to imagine what your visit will be like, as physicians are making in-person appointments. Here’s what you can expect, as I recently accompanied a relative on a visit to this world-renown medical facility. As of today, patients are allowed to have one person accompany them on their visit. I would suggest calling your provider before your visit to confirm what the policy is, in regard to the number of people accompanying you on your visit. When you plan your trip, visiting the Mayo Clinic will be a successful visit.
Parking When You Visit The Mayo Clinic
The Damon Parking Ramp is usually our first ramp of choice, as it’s so close to where our appointments usually are. Ironically, during a pandemic, the line to get into the ramp was rather long. It’s fair to say that I was surprised that the line was this busy. We had arrived a little before 10 am for a 10:30 a.m. appointment. During “normal” times, this parking ramp would be full and not have any parking spaces. We waited in the long line to enter the ramp and there were parking spaces available. If you have regular appointments at the clinic, purchase a daily parking pass at the information desk in the Gonda Building. It will save you a lot of money and time for digging for $$ to pay the parking attendant anytime you are visiting the Mayo Clinic.
Riding The Elevator In The Damon Parking Ramp
We were parked on the 8th floor of the Damon Parking ramp, which meant we would hop on the elevator, as opposed to taking several flights of stairs to the subway level. I would recommend taking a picture of a sign of the floor you are parked in. This will make your end of the day return to the parking ramp worry-free. This will make sure that you are not the “wandering” person in the parking ramp searching for your car. Let’s face it, we’ve all been there at one time or another. Your visit to the Mayo Clinic can be a success when you plan before you visit.
Put your mask on before you open your car door and know that you will not be removing it for a period of time. Push the down arrow on the elevator keypad with your elbow. Enter the elevator and look down. There are X’s on the floor, five to be exact.
Physical distancing is encouraged in the elevator. The days of riding this elevator packed elbow to elbow, are no more.
Exiting The Elevator On The Subway Level
As you exit, there will be people lined up. An employee of the Mayo Clinic will direct you to a table to have your temperature taken and to answer some general health questions. I found this area a little congested, as this is where several folks from elevators exit. It was managed well, the best that it could be in the space that is available. The health screening process was quick. We were each given a sticker to wear, which we assume told others that we had been screened. We were wearing masks, but there were masks available throughout the clinic for those that did not have them. If you cannot find a mask, ask someone at a desk to help you find one.
Proceeding Through The Subway Level To Blood Drawing Desk
Anyone that visits the Mayo Clinic has most likely been to the blood drawing area on the subway level. As we strolled this level, the congestion of people began to thin out. There were no lines at the elevators and everyone was wearing a mask. We did notice people “playing” with their masks, which seems to be a common thing. Everyone is trying to figure out how to wear them and see everything around them. Upon arrival at the check-in desk, I did notice that the self-check-in kiosks were not an option anymore.
Signs nearby state that patients had to check in with a person who was wearing a mask and patients were instructed to step back from the desk to encourage physical distancing. Once you are through the process of being checked in, you head to your chair. The seating area here looks much different from the past.
There are spaces between the chairs and people were called back rather quickly.
Time Between Appointments At The Mayo Clinic
We had three hours between our appointment times at the Mayo Clinic, which meant we had time to spare. In normal times, I’d suggest that you hang out in the cafeteria, but with everyone having to wear a mask at the Mayo Clinic at all times, this made no sense. We left the grounds to visit an outdoor garden center and grabbed some Chic Fil A from a drive-thru.
After we enjoyed our lunch we headed back to the parking ramp. We were able to find a spot in the Damon Parking Ramp and re-enter the clinic the same route as earlier in the day.
Anyone that has taken a road trip with me knows that a stop for the original chicken sandwich is a MUST!
Returning To Mayo Clinic For An Appointment On The Same Day
This time when we were in the elevator we noticed the X’s on the floor before we boarded the elevator. We exited at the Subway Level and were instructed to “skip” the health screening as we were wearing the stickers we had been given earlier in the day. The elevators to the Gonda Building were waiting for us with no line.
We boarded the elevator and there were squares on the floor, which visitors are to stand in the middle of.
We then exited the elevator and headed to the check-in desk. Signs were in place instructing patients where to stand and where to sit.
Chairs in the waiting area had signs on them, so it was easier for visitors to practice physical distancing.
Takeaways From Visiting The Mayo Clinic During A Pandemic
The biggest takeaways I had from this visit is that it is “work” to visit during these challenging times. We had hand sanitizer with us and it was readily available throughout the facility. I did not carry a purse or bag in with me, as that would be something that I would have needed to disinfect after returning to the car. We wore our masks from the time we exited the car to the time we returned to the car. It was quite evident that everyone is still trying to get used to navigating this space during a pandemic. Bring your patience along and practice wearing your mask for a period of time before your appointment. This way you will be used to wearing it for a few hours at a time.
I have a new respect for anyone wearing a mask at their job all day long. Two hours was enough for me to wear one while at the clinic. If you need a mask, I’d suggest ordering one from one of these folks in the Midwest. A little patience goes a long way when you visit any medical facility. It’s important to remember that everyone working in them is human, just like you and I. We are all doing our best to make it through this pandemic. Each day things get a little easier as we all learn to navigate our new way of life.
Happy Traveling~ Sara