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Local health departments have started providing guidelines and regulations related to incorporating sneeze guards into restaurants and grocery stores across the country. Sneeze guards are plexiglass or plastic barriers that protect food from bacteria and other airborne viruses and germs. Sneeze guards are continuing to rise in popularity as local health departments require installation to keep employees and customers safe. Buffets and self-serve food bars at grocery stores and restaurants must install and maintain top quality sneeze guards. Sneeze guards for restaurants have continued to advance over the years and can now add an appeal to food display along with protecting food from possible exposure and contamination.

Rules & Regulations

Buffets, hospital and school cafeterias, portable food carts, and self-serve food bars are required to have sneeze guards in place according to state and national health regulation laws. While the regulations vary by state, there are strict guidelines regarding the installation and utilization of sneeze guards. The consumer market must be protected like your employees, and food sanitation and safety regulations have been created and fine-tuned to ensure optimal health for all parties. Due to the recognition for this need, NSF International was founded in 1944, a public health and safety organization that oversees the navigation of food safety and cleanliness within those environments.

Sectors of the food industry from agriculture and food equipment to restaurants and grocery stores are familiar with NSF International and realize the significance of NSF certification. Products with this certification verify that the manufacturer has met the strict standards that encourage public health protection. With the certification, the consumer market and retailers know that the products they’re purchasing are safe and have met the NSF standards. Restaurant and grocery store managers are encouraged to become knowledgeable of local health department codes as they can vary city to city and state to state.

Guidelines

There are many regulations and guidelines for sneeze guards, and both restaurants and grocery stores are encouraged to follow these guidelines to earn NSF certification. These regulations and guidelines can vary by location. However, according to the USDA, there are a few specific rules that apply no matter the situation:

  • Installed barriers must be tall enough for the average customer ranging from 5 to 6 feet tall.
  • Sneeze guards should blend in with the aesthetics of the establishment and complement the design rather than distract or take away.
  • All sneeze guard designs, including customizable options, must be intact, and customers or staff should not be able to move or adjust them. Sneeze guards must be secured on all sides as moveable designs don’t provide adequate protection.

NSF International has also developed requirements that are directly related to the use of sneeze guards. These requirements include suggested measurements for sneeze guards, the distance between a sneeze guard and floor, maximum splash zone radius, and much more. Each of these guidelines helps guarantee the optimal functioning and design of sneeze guards in the food industry.

Making the Investment

Amid the pandemic and the continuing rise of health precautions, there are many different sneeze guard style options available for restaurants and grocery stores. Many factors play into a company’s decision in choosing a sneeze guard design and below are a few details to consider so you can choose the best option for your unique location:

  1. Mobility: Sneeze guards come in various designs that allow restaurants and grocery store managers to move them as needed or create a permanent installation. It’s essential to keep this in mind when choosing your sneeze guard design as certain areas of your store may need fixtures that allow for easy disassembly. While an optional disassembly is convenient, it’s also vital to consider the benefits of a permanent structure and possibly reevaluate food presentation options during this time.
  2. Account for Strength: There are various materials used in sneeze guard designs, but the most common materials are plexiglass or glass. Each material has different durability and susceptibility levels when it comes to damage. It’s recommended to account for the amount of traffic your business will receive and where the sneeze guards will be located to determine which material is best for you. Finding a durable sneeze guard design will provide you with a long-lasting solution.
  3. Versatile: Food items and displays can vary in size depending on the time of year and what items you’re featuring. When choosing the right sneeze guard design for your establishment, it’s essential to consider these details so you can choose a versatile design that will work correctly in any situation.
  4. Cleanliness: Double and triple-check the design of your sneeze guard as you want a design that is easy to clean and doesn’t have any areas where residue can get stuck and build over time. Sneeze guards must be kept clean, in turn, keeping food at your restaurant or business sanitary for customers and employees.
  5. Upgrades: Restaurants and grocery stores may have a need for specific lighting or other customizable options for adequate food display. It’s encouraged to thoroughly review the design you’ve chosen to ensure that it can be equipped for these features. Here at Sneeze GuardEZ, we offer customized designs that can cater directly to your unique food industry needs.

Optimize Your Business Design Today

Local health departments have started providing guidelines and regulations related to incorporating sneeze guards into restaurants and grocery stores across the country. Sneeze guards are plexiglass or plastic barriers that protect food from bacteria and other airborne viruses and germs. Sneeze guards are continuing to rise in popularity as local health departments require installation to keep employees and customers safe. Buffets and self-serve food bars at grocery stores and restaurants must install and maintain top quality sneeze guards. Sneeze guards for restaurants have continued to advance over the years and can now add an appeal to food display along with protecting food from possible exposure and contamination.