Sneeze guards are glass or acrylic barriers that have a huge usage area from restaurants to public spaces and institutions to provide a hygienic environment and private areas or to protect people from contamination of diseases.
Sneeze guards are designed to prevent the bacteria and germs in the air from spreading and sticking onto food or infecting other people. They play the barrier between people and airborne bacteria or viral germs from people’s sneezes, breaths, or coughs. Sneeze guards became popular in the recent pandemic that affected everyone worldwide and brought a new perspective to hygiene and health safety. Aside from viruses and global pandemics, they have always been used in the food service industry to protect all food items from airborne microorganisms and provide hygienic eating environments as local health regulations require.
Do Sneeze Guards Really Protect?
Sneeze guards help in various ways, such as reminding people to keep their social distance, covering food and offering customers sterile food they can consume with a peace of mind, or creating a barrier between people where social distancing is not possible. As their name suggests, they also considerably reduce the contamination of people’s germs to others in case of sneezing or coughing.
Types of Sneeze Guards
There are various kinds of sneeze guards, all with different purposes and shapes to meet different needs. To make your sneeze guards more sturdy and stationary, you can mount them on countertops or tables. Big-sized operations generally opt for permanently attached sneeze guards in cashier stations and food display cases since they do not expect to move them.
Sneeze guards are available in hanging, standing, and countertop models to fit the different purposes and usage areas. All of them are convenient and functional to use anywhere you need them. For instance, countertop sneeze guards suitable for restaurant tables, cashier stands, or booths or hanging sneeze guards can be used with the same purpose if you do not expect to move them since they are mounted on the ceiling.
Standing sneeze guards will be better to use in gyms, stores, or offices, and there are some models with rollers for easy moving if you prefer to change their places continuously. Here are the materials and types of sneeze guards with usage areas.
1. Breath Barriers
After the Covid-19 Pandemic, breath barriers started to use in restaurants, other food service operations, markets, and health institutions worldwide, due to new law requirements. They have a huge usage area, such as in restaurant tables between clients or the cashier area.
2. Area dividers
Area dividers or booth partitions are other types that can be counted as sneeze guards. Area dividers protect clients from airborne microbes by dividing the sitting areas while offering clients privacy. With a design matching your brand and environment, you can also use area dividers to decorate your establishment.
3. Display cases
Display case sneeze guards, such as stationary sneeze guards and hot dog roller grill sneeze guards, are perfect additions to your cafe, restaurant, or bakery, providing a safety barrier around the goods and a showcase with clear and solid material. They are mostly made of acrylic, are durable, and serve as a display case not just for food but for all small items you want to exhibit.
4. Folding Sneeze Guard
Folding sneeze guards are also sturdy and durable since they are made from clear acrylic and are easy to move and place because they are lightweight. Collapsible sneeze guards provide effective protection by covering the three sides of the food. It will also display your food while guarding and matching the aesthetic of the ambiance. It is ideal to use in markets and festivals, in addition to cafes and restaurants. Lastly, they are easy to connect and occupy little space when assembled.
Materials Of Sneeze Guards
- Acrylic: The transparent acrylic sneeze guards, also known as plexiglass, are highly durable that can resist impact 17 times more than glass, although they are lightweight. They can be used for countertops, tabletops, hanging, or standing sneeze guards. While using an acrylic sneeze guard, you should remember that they are crackable in case of mistreatment and mostly come in limited sizes.
- PVC: Polyvinyl chloride, known as PVC, is another material option for sneeze guards that is more lightweight but less rigid than acrylic models. They are mainly foldable and can be rolled up for easy moving and storage. Being transparent as acrylic ones, they are convenient for communicating behind cashier stands or booths. Unlike plexiglass sneeze guards, PVC guards are flexible, so you don’t have to worry about cracks, and they are mostly bigger.
- Polycarbonate: Highly durable polycarbonate sneeze guards can resist impact 250 times more than glass and 30 times more than plexiglass shields. But while it is stronger than other materials, it has lower visibility.
Choosing a Sneeze Guard
There are various this protection equipment in terms of shape and size. Since every operation has a different setup and unique ambiance, you can customize or choose the sneeze guards that fit your layout.
Adaptability is what operations experienced during the pandemic due to continually shifting health and safety rules. Choosing adaptable and customizable sneeze guards will make them able to fit different surfaces and usages. So adaptability is a point to look for before purchasing them since the regulations may be updated at any time. You may need to adjust them to accommodate new regulations.
There are movable and portable sneeze guards that can be used anywhere and gathered up easily, and permanent (fixable) sneeze guards that you can mount on tables or counters. So considering whether you will change places of your sneeze guards or not is essential before purchase.
Like all other food service equipment, sneeze guards must have high durability. They will be exposed to innumerable people, moving around, and various sanitizing chemicals. To ensure your sneeze guard will handle all of this and not obligate you to buy a new one constantly, choosing a sneeze guard made of durable material will be on point.
For further information about NSF’s general, as well as dimensions and other requirements, you can check here.
Sneeze Guards Maintenance
Keeping your sneeze guards sanitary has the same importance as having them. They must be sanitized and maintained to ensure hygiene and stand for a long time. You can set up a daily and weekly cleaning practice to put it in order. Here are some maintenance tips for your sneeze guards.
For chemical sanitizing, do not forget to use food-safe cleaners. You may simply apply a food-safe cleaner and wipe with a soft microfiber cloth to prevent scratches, or opt for mild soap and water to clean if you don’t have food-safe cleaners. You can wash the small-sized sneeze guards with warm water, and you should dry them with a soft dry cloth to prevent water spottings. Avoid using abrasive materials that may cause damage.
2. Checking The Screws
Screws of the sneeze guards may loosen or rust over time, so checking and tightening them is essential, and if rusted, you can change the screws.
Global pandemics reminded us of the importance of hygiene and health in an unforgettable way. While maximizing the hygiene in your business, minimizing the spread of disease, and maintaining a healthy and sanitary operation is the key point that will make the customers come with a clear conscience. Investing in sneeze guards to provide the required social distance, sterile environment, and safe food items will make you, your staff, and clients happy and pleased.