You’ve seen them at restaurant buffets and grocery store salad bars, in school cafeterias, and most recently at every grocery and retail store checkout. They’re sneeze guards, and their job is to reduce the spread of airborne respiratory droplets. So, what are sneeze guards, how do sneeze guards work, and exactly how effective are they at stopping the spread of germs?
Sneeze Guards 101
What is a Sneeze Guard?
Also known as sneeze barrier shields, sneeze guards are clear acrylic or plastic shields used to create a barrier between humans and food, or other humans. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, you may not have even noticed the sneeze guards at your local grocery store salad bar or buffet restaurant, but in today’s post-COVID-19 world, you can’t miss them.
From the receptionist at the doctor’s office, the patrons at the bar, and practically everywhere else in between, sneeze guards have become an essential tool for “business as usual” post-COVID-19. Sneeze guard sizes range in height and width based on different sneeze guard requirements. Though they are not technically required by law other than in the food industry, sneeze guards have made a lasting appearance in the following places:
- Medical Facilities
- Gas Stations
- Gyms & Therapeutic Settings
- Public Transportation
- Receptionist Desks
- Cash Registers
- Bars & Restaurants
How Do Sneeze Guards Work?
Sneeze guards act as a shield between two people or objects, protecting either one from airborne respiratory droplets expelled by sneezes, coughs, and breathing. Since germs from sneezes and coughs can travel at upwards of 50 mph and multiply into greater than 8 million in one single day, these clear barriers are a crucial piece of protective equipment for businesses of all kinds to install in order to keep their doors open and stop the spread of viruses.
Do Sneeze Guards Help?
You might be wondering “how do sneeze guards help?” Well, they help in a few different ways, actually. Sneeze guards help serve as a visual social distancing reminder to respect other people’s physical space. They also create barriers where proper social distancing may not be possible. Since sneeze guards are clear, they do not affect communication between individuals, making them a great protective barrier in the workplace, in schools, businesses, and public places. For example, cubicle sneeze guards are ideal for tight spaces where communication is still needed but social distancing can't always be possible.
Much like face masks, sneeze guards also help by protecting individuals from exposure to other people’s germs. For example, if a person were to sneeze in the direction of another person who happened to be on the other side of a sneeze guard, chances are the sneeze guard will catch most of those airborne particles, significantly reducing the chance of transmission.
If, on the other hand, no sneeze guard was present while the person was sneezing or coughing, there is a 100% chance for the airborne particles from that sneeze or cough to contaminate the person or object in their path.
Types of Sneeze Guards
There are multiple sneeze guard styles to choose from that best fit the needs of every space. School or workplace desks can benefit from three-sided plexiglass sneeze guards, while teachers can cruise around the classroom with a sneeze guard on wheels. Receptionists or retail check out desks can benefit from tabletop sneeze guards made with a pass through opening to easily pass documents, IDs, or payments through without overexposure to customers and patients. Nail salons will find hanging sneeze guards are the easiest way to perform manicures and pedicures without sacrificing safe physical barriers.
Cleaning Sneeze Guards
While sneeze guards aren’t necessarily touched, they should still be cleaned with a disinfectant several times a day or in between customers. For best results (and to prevent scratching of your new sneeze guards) Safely6ft™ carries a plastic clean & shine cleaner that gently cleans your clear barrier without leaving scratches. For best results, use your sneeze guard cleaner with a clean microfiber cloth.
Other Social Distancing Tools for Businesses
As we continue to navigate life in the new normal, one thing is clear, proper social distancing is here to stay. Safely6ft™ has everything you need to keep your office, restaurant, school, or business a safe place to be. From wall, window, and door signs to remind all who enter to wear a mask and wash hands to free-standing hand sanitizer stations to promote healthy habits, you’ll find everything you need for a safe and healthy environment at Safely6ft™.
From “what are sneeze guards” to case studies involving our products, the Safely Blog is the easy way to discover the benefits of our products and tips, tricks, and valuable information on working, living, and navigating life during and after a pandemic. Visit us today!