9 Best Sneeze Guards for Counters & Desks: Your Buying Guide

There’s no denying that we’re all living through some crazy times. The data collected so far from the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that there are several ways to protect yourself from getting sick. Social distancing, wearing masks in public, use hand sanitizer, and (best of all) washing hands are all effective deterrents against the dreaded coronavirus.

But you may have already seen another implement deployed in the fight against COVID-19: transparent partitions. Large sheets of clear plastic have suddenly shown up in businesses and offices all over the country. I’ve even seen them at my local hardware store. They’re also known as sneeze guards.

Sneeze guards aren’t just for salad bars anymore! They’re tremendously useful at retail counters, office desks, and restaurant tables since they prevent droplets from flying forward and can be easily cleaned and sanitized. Using sneeze guards at your office or business will definitely be a welcome step forward toward beating the virus.

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How Can I Protect Myself and Others Better Against the Coronavirus?

As the coronavirus known as COVID-19 continues to affect the world, potential solutions to help beat the virus have been found through the collection of data. While doctors and scientists make advances toward the creation of a possible vaccine, there are definitive actions that we all can take now to slow the spread. 

The easiest, and perhaps most effective, thing anyone can do is something your mom most likely told you while growing up: cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough. Preventing the spray of droplets such as saliva, mucus, and sweat has been repeatedly shown to help stop the transmission of the COVID-19 virus to other people. 

That prevention can take many forms but what’s important is the creation of a barrier through either distance or a physical piece of equipment. These barriers may take the form of “social distancing”, wearing a mask over the nose and mouth, face shields, and clear partitions or, as they’re more commonly known, sneeze guards.

Social distancing has been the anti-transmission buzz phrase of the year. Giving others a wide berth has been successfully demonstrated to help stop droplets from the nose and mouth from reaching other people. The ultimate social distancing approach is by quarantining yourself and your family until the situation improves. 

However, we all know now how difficult quarantine can be as time goes by. World health organizations recommend that if people are out and about that they stay away from other people by at least six feet. Obviously more distance will prevent droplets from landing on your hands and face. 

Particles coming from a person through either breathing, sneezing, or coughing will ultimately fall to the ground however it may take several minutes depending on location and conditions. These particles are microscopic and weigh almost nothing.

Face masks such as what health professionals wear while on the job at emergency rooms and hospitals are a simple way to prevent substances from escaping your nose and mouth to the atmosphere and to other people. A physical barrier such as plastic or cloth understandably reduces droplets from travel. 

Most people have adopted the use of face masks made of cloth and not professional protective equipment (PPE) like N95 masks. That’s okay. While not statistically as effective as PPE, cloth masks are still incredibly good at stopping droplets. A couple of very positive points in favor of cloth masks are that they can be washed and you can even make them at home.

The important thing to understand about face masks is that they work well to stop droplets but they work even better when both people in a conversation are wearing them. Not all masks are created equal. Some fabrics are more effective than others at stopping the transmission. You can find out for yourself how good your mask is by attempting to blow out a candle while wearing a face mask.

Face shields work even better. They are made of clear, thin plastic with no room for microscopic drops to get through. While incredibly good at stopping the virus, face masks aren’t foolproof as tiny particles can still get through fibers in the fabric. The face shield plastic can also be instantly sanitized with an antiseptic spray if necessary. The challenge here is that face shields don’t cover the nose and mouth as completely as a face mask.

Why Do I Need a Sneeze Guard for My Counter or Desk?

So what does this mean for you moving on throughout this time of COVID-19? Clearly measures must be taken to stop spreading germs and when social distancing isn’t practical, that means a physical barrier on top of wearing a face mask or face shield.

Sneeze guards have been around a long time, most notably at pizza restaurants in the 1980s. Thick glass or plastic shields worked well to prevent the spread of germs in a highly public setting. The thought of frequenting a communal salad bar during this pandemic is nostalgically quaint! Who would have thought that sneeze guards would be employed now to protect each other in an office environment?

The practice of using sneeze guards in businesses and offices is very simple. When installed at a counter or desk, they prevent droplets from reaching other people. Whether freestanding on a desk or installed permanently with hardware at a sales counter, the sneeze guards stop various microorganisms and can be cleaned easily between business dealings.

Consider the dimensions you may need for your own particular setting as well as what hardware is required for installation. Some guards come with stands so they can be easily set and moved however, depending on their size, specific materials may be required including chains for ceiling hanging or brackets to affix in place.

With any luck, the time of COVID-19 will one day be a memory. But for the time being, using a sneeze guard for your counter or desk will be a ubiquitous sight everywhere from grocery stores to banks to restaurants. The rise of open-concept office spaces will become even more open but for those times when in-person meetings are necessary, sneeze guards will be seen more often at desks and meeting room tables.

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