In the wake of COVID-19, one of the more visible changes in the way Americans do business is the explosive increase in the number of shield counter barriers. People expect and regulations require sneeze guards in restaurants at the buffet and salad bars. With COVID-19, shield counter barriers have become mainstream.
The sudden appearance of glass shield solutions in retail, hospitality, and many other industries has caught people by surprise. The instant demand has kept the custom glass industry extremely busy as both essential and non-essential businesses have sought to upfit to accommodate new demands for social distancing and employee and customer protection. The designation of the counter shield as a COVID-19 best practice gives assurance to people on both sides of the barrier that they are safe.
The Advantages of Glass Shield Solutions
Counter barriers can be manufactured using tempered glass, plexiglass, or acrylic. Overnight, shields made of sheets of plexiglass or acrylic glued or taped to boards sprung up by the thousands, if not tens of thousands, all over the US. The makeshift shields were attached to counters with nails or deck screws. The crude shields were temporary until more permanent and attractive solutions could be implemented.
Counter shields made of tempered glass have many advantages over plexiglass and acrylic.
- Glass has a greater visual clarity than plexiglass or acrylic and boasts scratch-free optics that are clear and sharp. Glass has a more professional and permanent look and feel than either plexiglass or acrylic.
- Stronger and more durable than its rivals, tempered glass is less likely to be scratched or cracked.
- Tempered glass is shatter-proof. Non-glass competitors can crack and split, creating a safety hazard for people on both sides of the barrier. If tempered glass is damaged, the whole plate safely shatters so that no one is cut or injured by large shards of glass.
- Tempered glass used in the counter barrier is safe. “Touched” or “eased” corners have been lightly sanded, so they are not sharp. Rounded corners on a square or rectangular piece of glass have been cut with a radius to form a curved outer edge, which can then be polished or beveled for further protection or to improve the appearance of the barrier.
- Tempered glass retains fewer germs and is easily cleaned and sanitized. Glass is also more resilient to the disinfectants that may be used to kill bacteria and viruses.
- Tempered glass can be customized with branding, text, or any graphic design. Oak City Glass can create a unique viewing experience with Satori, an in-glass printing solution that allows clients to transform a shield counter barrier into a masterpiece.
While plexiglass and acrylic have their advantages in certain applications, these materials lack the visual clarity of glass and may damage easily. They are also more prone to receive scratches, chips, and gouges where bacteria and viruses can collect and thrive. Removing these germs can be difficult. Strong disinfectants are needed to kill germs that remain after a general cleaning solution and scrubbing have been applied.
Counter barriers do not have to be cumbersome and unfriendly. Flexible mounting options make counter shields customer-friendly and movable for easy cleaning. Barriers can be hung from the ceiling or an overhead mount and when professionally mounted, are barely noticeable. A barrier can be installed on very stable feet that allow it to be fully removed for cleaning. The feet can be anchored to the counter so that the barrier cannot tip over. Alternatively, the barrier can be securely and permanently mounted to the counter.
Whatever the new normal looks like, protective counter barriers are a part of it. A recent article in Today featured the headline “Walmart, Kroger and more install sneeze guards to help protect customers, cashiers.”
The article explains the extent of the effort to keep cashiers and customers safe, saying, “As many grocery retailers race to meet the rapidly rising demand by hiring new employees amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis, their corporate teams are simultaneously implementing new procedures to help keep people safer and healthier. One of the latest measures includes installing large sneeze guards to protect cashiers and customers from spreading germs while completing transactions.”
Over the next several months, thousands of protective shields and counter barriers will be installed. The experts at Oak City Glass have the experience and knowledge to make any workspace safe, clean, and beautiful.
For more information about glass shield counter barriers, visit the Oak City Glass website at oakcityglass.com or call (919) 710-8662.