Everywhere you go at the moment, from the office to your local pub, you’ll be seeing social distancing screens of all shapes, sizes and materials. But why are they so important? How do social distancing screens help prevent the spread of COVID-19? What kind of protective barrier do you need for your workspace? Which are the best materials to choose? How else can you keep yourself, your colleagues and your customers safe?
In this article, we’ll answer all these questions and more. Read on for everything you ever wanted to know (and some things you didn’t know you needed to know!) about social distancing screens.
Why Are Social Distancing Measures so Important?
We’ve all had to make changes to the way we live our lives due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Here in the UK and around the world, in public and in private, people everywhere have been adapting their behaviours and routines to help prevent the spread of this unpleasant virus.
From wearing masks in shops and other indoor public spaces to keeping a safe 2m distance from others, there are all kinds of measures we can take to help keep the number of COVID-19 cases down. They can be as simple as washing or sanitising your hands regularly or wiping down your shopping to more major actions such as fitting out your workspace with secure and hygienic social distancing screens. All of these actions, however small, help to prevent the virus from spreading like wildfire through our communities and also help to protect the elderly and the at-risk.
How do Social Distancing Screens Help Prevent The Spread of COVID-19?
Coronavirus is transferred from person-to-person through tiny droplets expelled from the nose or mouth when someone sneezes, coughs, or even breathes. These droplets can be transferred directly from one person to another if someone is standing very close, or they can land on surfaces that are then touched by someone else, and the virus is transmitted that way.
We are asked to wear face masks in public indoor spaces as wearing a mask over our mouth and nose helps to prevent the mask-wearer from spreading droplets around. A common misconception is that face masks protect the wearer – but in actual fact, we wear face masks to protect others around us, and trust that they will do the same.
Social distancing screens are useful both in public environments and customer-facing businesses as well as offices and other workspaces. A smooth, Perspex, acrylic or glass panel acts as a barrier to Coronavirus droplets in the air, allowing two people to interact more safely with a social distancing partition between them.
It’s important to remember that wiping down these panels with sanitiser or bleach products regularly is essential to provide maximum protection against germs and viruses.
What Kind of Protective Barrier do You Need For Your Workspace?
There are all kinds of different social distancing screens available, which one you choose depends on the requirements of your work environment.
Now that we have been encouraged back into our offices, maintaining proper distancing between employees, particularly on desk clusters, is essential.
A product such as these Framed Clear Perspex Desk Dividers offers a simple solution for a bank of desks. Sold as single partitions, they can be easily grouped together inline or in a cross formation to suit the setup of your office. Clamped to the desk for stability, they offer excellent visibility, meaning communication between employees is still easy.
For a more open-plan office, or other venues such as gyms or libraries, a floor standing barrier like this Freestanding Perspex Office Partition might be more effective. Single framed panels can be linked together, meaning you can section off impromptu ‘meeting rooms’ and divide open-plan spaces easily. Simple to link and unlink, you can set up your space differently each day depending on your requirements.
Medical & Care Facilities
The need to protect our NHS and care staff is crucial, so having the right social distancing measures in place in our hospitals, GP surgeries, dentists, care homes, pharmacies and other medical facilities is important.
In a medical or care setting, the ability to adapt quickly is essential, so we recommend social distancing screens that are easy to move around. These Mobile Divider Partitions on Wheels can be used as single screens or linked together in a chain for a larger area of protection, or while storing them. The lockable castor wheels mean they are easy to push into a new position and then remain secure when fixed in place.
Patient interaction is a key aspect for these kinds of workspaces, so a social distancing screen option that allows doctors, nurses and pharmacists to safely complete certain procedures is a great idea. This Mobile Protective Arm Vaccination Screen has a uniquely shaped cut-out hatch designed so that vaccinations, injections and blood draws can be completed easily while maintaining a safe social distance. Plus, it’s height-adjustable so the patient can be sitting or standing during the procedure.
Tills and service counters are some of the most high-risk environments in terms of footfall, so having the right social distancing measures in place is very important.
Freestanding partitions that are easy to set up, with cut-out service hatches for customer transactions, are a good fit here. Something like this Crystal-Clear Freestanding Perspex Screen offers clarity for easy communication between staff and customers, while maintaining a sturdy barrier.
Restaurants, Salons & Gyms
In businesses like bars, pubs, hairdressers and gyms social interactions are necessary, but it’s still possible to keep both staff and customers safe by choosing adjustable social distancing screens. Set up between tables, alongside gym equipment or amongst hairdressing stations, these Roller Banner Clear Screen Dividers roll up and down, meaning you can leave your venue with plenty of open space and only put them up as required. For a counter top version, choose the Retractable Sneeze Guard Screen.
What Are The Best Materials to Choose?
You’ll find though that the majority of social distancing screens are manufactured from 5mm-thick clear acrylic or Perspex. Lighter and more affordable than glass, Perspex offers a longwearing option for protective barriers. With or without frames, it’s a surface that’s easy to keep clean. Little wonder, then, that Perspex Screens are the best-selling and most popular protective barriers.
Another good option for social distancing screens is toughened Safety Glass. Four to five times stronger than standard annealed float glass, if broken, safety glass disintegrates into small fragments with dulled edges that are less likely to cause injury. Glass has advantages over Acrylic / Perspex as it is far more resilient to scratches, is easier to clean and keep sanitised and maintain a smear-free finish.
For adjustable roller screens, 300-micron transparent acetate plastic provides plenty of protection while remaining very lightweight. If you’re going to be lifting and carrying your dividers often, this is a good option.
How Else Can You Keep Yourself, Your Customers and Your Colleagues Safe?
Aside from remembering to wash or sanitise your hands, keep a 2m distance from others wherever possible, and wearing a face mask in indoor public venues; investing in quality social distancing screens and other forms of PPE is absolutely the best way to protect your staff and customers.
Any questions? Get in touch via our Contact Us page, or call one of our team on 01733 511030.