In these uncertain times, there is at least one thing that we do know -- things are going to be different for a little while.
Making sure that you properly reopen your business or school is extremely important for the safety of both your employees and your customers or students alike.
One very commonly used item for reopenings is a sneeze guard barrier system that serves as a separation divider between two or more people. These sneeze guards come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials, though they all serve the same purpose -- to act as a guard to better protect against the person-to-person spread of COVID-19 in the area in which it is being used.
In this article, we'll explore some of the various types and uses of sneeze guards as it relates to better ensuring that you reopen in a way that puts everyone more at ease.
Who Uses Sneeze Guards?
Before the global pandemic, there were only a few more common situations in which a sneeze guard was used. Think a buffet line at a restaurant, or a shield at a fast casual food establishment where the customer requests ingredients for their meal that are displayed on the other side of the clear partition.
But today you'll find sneeze guards being used in colleges / schools / universities, factories & warehouses, gyms, salons, office spaces, retail stores, and more. If there are two or more people in the same general area, you'll likely find a dividing partition being used.
Comparing Types Of Sneeze Guard SystemsWhen it comes to the various types of dividers out there, you certainly have your choice of materials and styles. Some sneeze guard systems are tall and wide to cover a larger area. Some are smaller countertop models to protect a cashier or front desk receptionist (or bank teller, etc.).
And still, some sneeze guards are made of acrylic, while others are plexiglass, while ours are of a heavy gauge flexible vinyl.
While acrylic and plexiglass guards may be more commonly seen, there are some limitations to keep in mind. One is that these materials are rigid and can possibly crack if mishandled. Often they are limited in size, can be very hard to find with persistent supply constraints (we've seen lead times of 6-8 weeks!), and not to mention acrylic and plexiglass can be rather expensive (which we'll cover later in this article).
A great alternative with the shortages and expense of those types of rigid dividers include the heavy duty vinyl that we use for our sneeze guards. This material is flexible, so you'll never have to worry about it cracking or breaking. And as a bonus, the vinyl partition shields that we manufacture start out on a roll in our warehouse, so there is virtually no limitation as to how tall we can make them. The standard width of the clear vinyl that we use is 54 inches, which is considerably wider than most acrylic and plexiglass options.
Pipe And Base Kits vs. Other Barrier Stands
Just like the materials can be different, so too are the ways that these partition walls are set-up.
The more rigid systems sometimes require permanent installation (more so for some of the taller options), some can be cumbersome to assemble, and if a part gets damaged, you generally cannot replace just that one piece.
Contrast that to a pipe and base system that is a portable, freestanding sneeze guard. The modular design means that you can build a long linear span for a clear room divider, create right angles for things like "L" shapes, "U" shapes (three-sided enclosures with an open front), "T" shapes, fully enclosed four-sided "rooms", and more -- all without any permanent installation needed.
Our sneeze guard kits are easy to assemble...so easy that we'll state it as a simple equation:
1 person + 1 flathead screwdriver (needed for about 30 seconds) + about 5 minutes of time (per kit) = a freestanding sneeze guard
Another great feature of a pipe and base kit is that, unlike most acrylic and plexiglass models, if you were to ever lose or damage any component piece, they're all available a la carte and can be quickly replaced.
How Much Does A Sneeze Guard Cost?
Because there are so many styles, materials, and sizes, there isn't really a one-size cost analysis that can be determined. However, as a general rule of thumb, and as you might suspect, smaller sneeze guards are less expensive than larger sneeze guards.
But even with that said, there can be a HUGE difference in price based on your choice of acrylic, plexiglass, or vinyl sneeze guards / partition walls. For the rigid materials, even the smallest of countertop models can range from a couple hundred to several hundreds of dollars, depending on the size selected. And once you get in to the taller and wider systems, they typically cost several hundreds to even thousands of dollars.
But we're here to make sure that you can save as much money as possible -- even our taller 8 foot models are less than $200. This is because our goal is to provide affordable sneeze guards for all -- for the school that needs to ensure the safety of the students, for the business that is reopening after months of being shut down, for the factory that is starting up their equipment again, and for the gyms, salons, and offices that are working to adapt to this new normal. We provide sneeze guards that are cheap in price, not in quality.
Our standard sneeze guard kits range from 6 1/2 feet tall to 8 feet tall, and from 4 1/2 feet wide to 12 feet wide, available on our website with the click of a button -- and all at a considerably lower price than alternative options. And as a manufacturer, we can customize the height and width to your needs, just as we've done for many of our clients so far. So if you need your sneeze guard to be 5 feet tall and 40 inches wide, you got it! Or maybe you need a barrier that is 8 feet tall, but only 4 feet wide? No problem! Contact us and we'll be happy to help.
What If I Don't Need An Entire Sneeze Guard Kit?
If you don't need an entire system, we haven't forgotten about you! Just like there are plexiglass sheets and acrylic divider sheets, we also offer our clear flexible vinyl material as individual panels that you can hang or use in a different situation or with existing drapery rods / tension rods / wires. So you don't have to purchase an entire kit if it's not needed for your situation, and we'll still make sure that you're saving big on easy-to-use clear room divider material.
Where Can I Buy A Sneeze Guard System?Choosing the right sneeze guard barrier for your needs doesn't have to be a daunting task. At Pipe and Drape Online, we've adapted to the increased demand for Emergency Relief products that help ensure a safer reopening by using some of our existing product lines with just a few minor tweaks (such as using vinyl, instead of polyester or cotton drape). By doing so, we are able to leverage our vast inventory of pipes and bases, our sewing staff, and our knowledgeable customer service representatives to assist you throughout the process.
It's important to note that our sneeze guards are intended to be used in conjunction with other recommended or required guidelines, including but not limited to the use of face masks, social distancing whenever possible, and frequent cleaning. Just like acrylic and plexiglass sneeze guards, our vinyl systems by themselves will not fully slow the spread -- we all need to play our part in doing everything we can to get back to the "old normal".
We wish you great success in your reopening, and look forward to helping you if you have any questions at all!
DISCLAIMER: we do not claim or warrant that any of the products mentioned in this article, including those that are sold by our company, are FDA approved or otherwise certified for any specific medical use. Statements regarding these items have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. Please follow the latest advice of the CDC and your health care professional for ways to help keep yourself safe.