It seems like sneeze guards in Toronto appeared everywhere on or about March of 2020. However, even before COVID-19, plexiglass sneeze guards were used to protect people and products from droplets. Older uses included salad bars, high-traffic services like subway booths, and grocery stores.
Today, however, the plexiglass sneeze guards in Canada are everywhere because these shields inhibit the spread of COVID-19 and keep essential workers safe.
Recently, researchers at Princeton University began testing the effectiveness of plexiglass sneeze guards in the context of COVID-19. The researchers mimicked the use of the shield in a way we typically see in commercial settings, and used a fog machine to simulate droplets. The researchers found that some of the fog did get around the plexiglass sneeze guard, but this was only a result of good ventilation. Otherwise, the guards are very effective, especially if they can be used with an HVAC ventilation system.
Why are Protective Shields Needed?
Everybody today knows that COVID-19 spreads via respiratory droplets. The same can be said for the innumerable germs and viruses we pass around. The safest way to avoid the spread beyond avoiding others, wearing a mask, and getting vaccinated is to stay six feet away from others at all times.
For many employees, the six-foot gap is not possible or practical, so for these people, standing behind a plexiglass sneeze guard is the safest thing they can do.
Recommended Safety Precautions
While sneeze guards are not the bottom line of protection against COVID-19, they are an essential tool in the arsenal to stop the spread of the virus. For those who work front-line amongst many people coming and going, frequent handwashing, proper masks, vaccination, and distancing are also important.
The Government of Ontario recommends using plexiglass barriers where practical, between workers and to guide the flow of lineups and promote physical distancing.
Canada’s NCCEH (the National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health) note that plexiglass sneeze guards have a few functions:
- The catch droplets which transmit the virus
- They act as a non-verbal reinforcer of social distancing expectations, which provide protection even if someone is unwilling to practice safe distancing
- They reduce reliance on masks, allowing frontline workers to be more comfortable.
Designed With Safety in Mind
Plexiglass sneeze guards are made to be tall enough and wide enough to keep a person safe whether they are sitting or standing. Plexiglass is an acrylic and glass polymer that is medium weight and easily transported and moved around. The sneeze guards need to be washed and sanitized daily due to the amount of droplets they collect.
Plexiglass sneeze guards are an incredibly effective and essential component of commercial COVID-19 safety. At Roy Turk we have several social distancing and COVID-19 safety products to choose from to keep your employees and co-workers safe.