However, just because we are familiar with them in our shops, venues and public spaces, doesn’t mean we should forget just why they are so necessary to help slow and prevent the spread of this dangerous virus in our communities.
In this article, we will discuss:
- Why social distancing screens are so important.
- How they help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- What kind of protective barriers are suitable for different workplaces.
- Which are the best materials to choose for your social distancing screens.
COVID-19 has already disrupted our lives enormously, but experts reckon it will be with us for the long haul. Vaccinations will help to bring cases down to low levels so we can eventually get back to normality - but many predict that measures such as social distancing screens and the wearing of face masks will remain part of our daily lives for years to come. So read on to find out everything you need to know about what kind of measures you can put in place to protect your staff and customers, and why they’re so necessary, even once vaccinations are readily available.
Why Are Social Distancing Measures so Important?
All of us, in one way or another, have had to adapt our normal way of life to deal with the effects of the global Coronavirus pandemic. Many measures have been suggested and enforced to help keep everyone safe during this time, such as wearing face masks in shops and other indoor public spaces, keeping a safe 1-2m distance from others outside your household at all times, washing or sanitising your hands regularly, wiping down your shopping or post, or installing a range of high-quality social distancing screens in your workplace. All of these actions help to prevent the virus spreading and protect the more vulnerable members of our communities.
How do Social Distancing Screens Help Prevent The Spread of COVID-19?
To answer this, first, it’s important to understand how Coronavirus is spread from person-to-person. Tiny droplets expelled from the nose or mouth when someone sneezes, coughs, or even breathes can be transferred directly from one person to another or they can land on surfaces that are then touched by someone else. These are the main ways in which coronavirus is spread.
The reason we are asked to wear face masks in public indoor spaces is because wearing a mask over our mouth and nose helps to prevent the mask-wearer from spreading droplets around. We wear face masks to protect everyone around us, and trust that they will do the same to protect us.
Note: it is now a legal requirement to wear a mask in a public indoor space in the UK unless you can prove an exemption with a note from your GP or medical practitioner.
Social distancing screens were introduced to act as a barrier to Coronavirus droplets in the air, allowing two people to interact more safely with a social distancing partition between them. This is why they are mandatory in public environments, customer-facing businesses as well as offices and other workplaces. They are usually made from Perspex® acrylic or glass, as these surfaces are easy to keep clean and sanitised. Simply wipe them down with antibacterial wipes or a diluted bleach solution to remove all the infectious virus fomite particles.
What Kind of Protective Barrier do You Need For Your Workspace?
The kind of social distancing screen you should choose depends on the requirements of your work environments. Here are some of the most frequently requested designs:
While many of us are currently working remotely, ensuring your office is adequately prepared for a full quota of employees is important, whether that’s happening next week or next month. Maintaining a proper social distance between employees can be difficult in smaller or busy office locations, but that’s where social distancing screens come in.
Perspex desk screens provide intelligent solutions for desk banks and can be adapted to suit many different office layouts. Our desk divider panels can be easily linked together inline or in a cross formation and clamped to the desks to form safe, secure barriers between staff members that still allow excellent visibility and communication.
Open-plan offices (and other one-room venues such as gyms, classrooms or libraries) can benefit from installing a series of floor-standing Perspex screens. Available in many different styles and sizes, a single screen panel can be used as a standalone divider or linked to other screen partitions to section off meeting or break areas and divide up large open spaces.
Medical & Care Facilities
Having the right social distancing measures set up in hospitals is crucial to protect both staff and patients and helps to prevent our NHS from becoming overwhelmed, as is protection in GP surgeries, care homes, pharmacies, dentists and other medical facilities.
Being able to adapt quickly to changing situations is key in a medical or care setting, so choosing social distancing screens that are easy to move around, such as mobile screens on wheels a good idea. These screens can be used alone, between beds in the ICU or Covid wards, or linked together in a chain to divide up larger, open plan areas such as waiting rooms. The lockable castor wheels mean they can be easily moved around but remain secure when fixed in place.
One of the latest developments in our fight against the virus is the introduction of a series of new vaccines. Keeping medical staff and volunteers safe and secure while administering these injections, as well as completing other procedures such as blood tests or chemotherapy, is essential, which is why we’ve developed a social distancing screen option that allows doctors, nurses and pharmacists to interact with patients while remaining protected. The Mobile Protective Arm Vaccination Screen has a cut-out hatch so that vaccinations, injections and blood draws can be completed, and it’s height-adjustable so the patient can be sitting or standing during the procedure. We also have Vaccination Privacy Pods available.
Retail outlets, particularly essential retail such as supermarkets which remain open even during lockdown circumstances, are some of the most high-risk environments for staff and customers during the pandemic. This means that having the right social distancing measures in place can be critical in preventing an outbreak of the virus.
Choosing products that are easy to set up and which can be flexible to the changing needs of the environment is essential. For retail counters, we recommend freestanding perspex screens. The transparent panels allow for easy communication while preserving a durable barrier between staff and customers. We offer many protection screens with cut out sections to minimise contact and allow for contact-free customer transactions.
Restaurants, Salons & Gyms
While these locations are all closed during lockdown measures, once we begin to move through the tier system more and more will be opening back up, so ensuring the correct social distancing screens are in place is more important than ever.
Businesses like bars, pubs, hairdressers, salons and gyms cannot avoid close interaction, but it’s still possible to keep everyone safe by choosing the right social distancing partitions. These clear banners roll up and down and are ideal to set up between tables, alongside gym equipment or amongst hairdressing stations, meaning you can leave your venue with plenty of open space and only put them up as required. Also available as a counter-top version of the same design.
They are incredibly cost-effective and quick to deploy in areas they are needed urgently.
What Are The Best Materials to Choose?
Although there are plenty of office screens available in a range of different materials, for social distancing purposes we recommend Perspex screens or protection panels made from acrylic, glass or PVC acetate. This is because these three materials can each be easily cleaned and sanitised to maintain a healthy and hygienic environment.
Toughened Safety Glass is a popular choice for social distancing screens that are designed to be permanently fixed in place, such as reception desk screens or desk divider panels - or for locations that prefer the more luxurious look of real 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 or Perspex® as it is more resilient to scratches, therefore easier to clean and keep sanitised.
However, the majority of good quality social distancing screens are manufactured from 5mm-thick clear acrylic Perspex®, which is lighter and more affordable than glass. Perspex® offers a durable option for protective barriers, and it’s easy to keep clean - though we recommend using microfibre cloths with your antibacterial or diluted bleach solution to prevent scratches appearing on the surface. Perspex® Screens are our best-selling and most popular protective barriers.
Our adjustable roller screens are made from 300-micron transparent acetate plastic, which provides plenty of protection while remaining lightweight; perfect for if you require dividers that need to be moved around often but you would prefer something without wheels. They are also a low-cost option compared to our Perspex® or glass dividers.
If you have further questions about what social distancing screens you may need for your business, get in touch via our Contact Us page, or call one of our team on 01234 676767.