The COVID-19 pandemic has caused businesses and municipalities across the country to rethink their processes and procedures. Many establishments have been drastically impacted by having to shut their doors to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. However, essential businesses such as grocery stores must remain open, making it vital that proper safety measures are taken to continue protecting employees and customers. Grocery stores have started using floor markings to encourage social distancing in checkout lines and other high traffic areas. Along with floor markings, sneeze guards are also being installed to create reliable protective barriers between staff and customers.
The Spread of Airborne Illnesses
There are many ways to catch an illness from touching a surface or interacting with a sick individual to coming in contact with respiratory droplets. With the COVID-19 pandemic occurring, studies have found that the most common way to catch this respiratory illness is through the travel of respiratory droplets when coughing or sneezing. According to Aalto University, when an infected individual coughs or sneezes, the respiratory droplets or aerosol cloud can travel as high as 10 feet and as wide as 6 feet. The study also found that the cloud takes several minutes to disperse, meaning someone could still come in contact with respiratory droplets even after 5 minutes.
These findings have caused many establishments to rethink and fine-tune their safety plans to protect employees and customers better. In an attempt to reduce close-quarter interactions and slow the spread of COVID-19, the CDC released social distancing guidelines for municipalities across the nation to follow. Along with these guidelines, many businesses throughout the country have chosen to equip establishments with sneeze guards to provide an enhanced level of protection for staff and customers.
How Can Sneeze Guards Help Your Establishment?
Grocery stores have a lot of traffic every day, making it a high-risk area for COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses. With the onset of the current pandemic, businesses across the country are working to optimize their work areas with sneeze guards to enhance safety measures and protocol. Sneeze guards for grocery stores are transparent physical barriers made out of plexiglass or acrylic. These barriers can be placed in hot food and salad sections, produce areas, check out lanes, and any other high-risk spaces in your establishment. Installing sneeze guards prevents the travel of respiratory droplets that may carry dangerous viruses or bacteria as these germs can transfer to food products and other grocery store customers. Sneeze guards optimize protection and safety while adding to the aesthetic of establishments in an appealing way rather than becoming an eyesore.
Promote Social Distancing
Social distancing has been recommended by the CDC to prevent further spread of COVID-19, and it will likely become the new norm. When going out in public, individuals are encouraged to stay 6 feet away from people outside of your household. Incorporating these guidelines into your establishment layout not only protects employees and customers but also communicates that you have the safety and protection of the general public in mind. Since grocery stores are considered essential businesses, customers are continuing to visit your establishment frequently. It’s recommended to be prepared rather than rely on customers to follow social distancing guidelines, and installing sneeze guards will enforce safe social distancing between customers and employees. Additionally, staff and visitors will also be protected from respiratory droplets and other contaminants transmitted through coughing and sneezing.
Safe Food Preparation + Product Cleanliness
Food safety and cleanliness are essential in any setting, but grocery stores, in particular, have a reputation to uphold. Maintaining a clean environment is not only crucial for food quality and product cleanliness, but also for employees and customers. Sneeze guards for grocery stores are made out of durable plexiglass or acrylic, thus providing a reliable barrier between people and food items to reduce exposure to contagious viruses and bacteria and further eliminate the chances of contamination. Along with protecting food items, sneeze guards also provide a simple and attractive way to display food, which adds to its appeal for customers. Each state has strict regulations for sneeze guard installation and utilization, but a few basic rules apply across the board:
- Height of sneeze guards must be tall enough for the average customer
- Frame color, shield size, and installation must blend with the décor of the establishment
- Sneeze guards must not be movable by customers or staff
Customized Protection + Sizing Options
Sneeze guards are incredibly versatile and offer grocery stores across the nation optimal protection in both full-service and self-service contact areas. Here at Sneeze GuardEZ, our team of expert designers, engineers, programmers, and metal fabricators can create a custom sneeze guard solution that’s perfect for your unique layout. Sneeze guards come in various sizes and designs, making these protective barriers suitable for food and customer service areas in grocery stores. When equipping your workspace with sneeze guards, it’s essential to determine whether you want a temporary or permanent setup. Portable or temporary models are freestanding or secured with brackets and can be placed on a table allowing for easy moving when needed. Mounted or permanent models are permanently secured to a table. When choosing the design for your grocery store, it’s vital to remember that installed sneeze guards must not be movable by customers or staff as moveable models don’t adequately protect food.
Design a Sneeze Guard for Your Grocery Store Today
While essential businesses have continued to stay open throughout the entirety of the COVID-19 pandemic, other establishments are beginning to open their doors to the public again. Many have been looking forward to everything transitioning back to normal, but unfortunately, social distancing and heightened safety precautions are likely the new norm. Grocery stores throughout the country are implementing floor markings and sneeze guards to encourage social distancing in high traffic areas and reduce the spread of respiratory droplets during close-quarter interactions. Sneeze guards are essential for today’s grocery stores to create a safe environment for both employees and customers.