what is a sneeze guard and what can it do: stop the germs from spreading from a sneeze

Since the start of the pandemic public health officials have urged the implementation of several new protective measures to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus. In April 2020, the CDC issued public health recommendations for public spaces and businesses, strongly recommending the use of sneeze guards. Let’s discuss what you might be thinking: what are sneeze guards, do they work and do I need them for my business?

What is a Sneeze Guard?

A sneeze guard is a clear protective barrier made from either plastic or acrylic and designed to limit the exposure and spread of respiratory droplets produced by sneezing, coughing and talking. Sneeze shields have been used in food service settings for decades to prevent food contamination caused by respiratory droplets. You may have seen these clear barriers at buffets, salad bars and self-service food carts in the supermarket. Checkout our post: What is a Sneeze Guard? for more information.

Do Sneeze Guards Work?

In short, yes. There’s a lot of speed behind coughs (50mph) sneezes (100mph) which expel tens of thousands of germs and infectious droplets into the air. Sneeze guards are designed to do just that--guard sneezes, coughs and other respiratory droplets from being passed from one person to the next. When a person coughs, sneezes or even speaks behind a sneeze guard there is less chance that the person on the other side will be exposed to those respiratory droplets.

It’s important to note that sneeze guards are not meant to replace face masks. Rather, they should be used in conjunction with personal protective equipment and social distancing measures to help reduce the spread of illness between individuals in public settings.

When is a Sneeze Guard Required?

While sneeze guards aren’t technically required in any setting other than food safety, there are several instances where sneeze guards are both beneficial and highly recommended by the CDC. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s not uncommon to see sneeze guards at the checkout line in the supermarket, between students and teachers at schools, at the teller station of your bank, in restaurants (between tables, at the bar, etc) and in healthcare settings.

Ideally, sneeze guards should be used anytime two individuals in a public space need to communicate within a space less than six feet. Check with your state and local public health officials to find out what guidelines have been set in place for the use of sneeze guards in your line of business. For offices setting a cubicle sneeze guard would be ideal to use to keep your employees safe.


In summary, sneeze guards create a transparent barrier where social distancing is not always possible. Even though sneeze guards are not required in business settings other than food safety, they are highly recommended by the CDC and other top healthcare officials for use in public spaces to effectively prevent the spread of illness-causing respiratory droplets. 


Safely6ft™ carries easy to assemble, easy to clean TeamShield acrylic sneeze guards for every setting. Choose from mobile, tabletop, transactional and personal tri-fold sneeze guards to find the best fit to match the needs of your establishment and help stop the spread of COVID-19.

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