As we continue to deal with the global COVID-19 pandemic, businesses and individuals everywhere are getting creative with things like plexiglass barriers to stay safe. The real question is whether plexiglass is an effective COVID barrier and if it can reduce your risk of contracting the virus.

Understanding How COVID-19 Spreads

Before we can get into whether plexiglass can help reduce the risk of COVID, it is helpful to have an understanding of how the virus spreads.  

According to the CDC, transmission primarily occurs when respiratory droplets containing the virus come into contact with a mucous membrane. They have determined that this happens when you come into close contact with a person who has COVID-19, and close contact is defined as follows: being within six feet of someone for at least 15 minutes, within 24 hours. 

Based on this definition, you can surmise that the best way to reduce the risk of transition is to avoid contact with under individuals whenever possible. The next layer of protection should be to wear a mask and remain at least six feet apart from others. The CDC also recommends that, if plausible, you utilize a plexiglass barrier to isolate people behind an additional sneeze guard.

Advantages of COVID Barriers

The plexiglass COVID barriers were designed to serve as a giant sneeze guard. Think about it as a physical wall between respiratory droplets that could be carrying the virus and the individual behind it. The most effective COVID plexiglass barriers are those that are tall and wide enough to cover an individual whether they are sitting or standing. 

Plexiglass is a popular choice for businesses because it is less expensive and very durable when compared to other types of materials. Barriers made of plexiglass are easy to install for the most part, so many people jumped at the opportunity to use these right away. In addition, plexiglass is strong enough to withstand the normal wear and tear of everyday use. At the same time, they are easy to disinfect using cleaning agents approved by the CDC. 

Drawbacks to COVID Plexiglass

Even though stores and restaurants around the world rushed to install plexiglass to protect against the spread of COVID-19, they are not a perfect solution. For starters, installing a COVID barrier does not eliminate the risk that the virus will not spread. It does not address the potential for aerosol transmission, and as a result, cannot fully protect employees or customers from risk. 

The existence of these barriers can sometimes give individuals a false sense of security, but it does not replace the need to create a separation of at least six feet whenever possible. Also, plexiglass cannot supersede other health requirements such as wearing masks and face coverings and washing your hands thoroughly. 

For these reasons, it is important that school administrators and workplace managers always remind students and employees to observe COVID safety measures even if plexiglass barriers are around. 

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to the COVID-19 problem. Rather, it is a collection of safety measures—from social distancing and frequent hand washing to the use of masks and installation of COVID barriers—that can reduce the spread of the coronavirus. 

On their own, plexiglass barriers cannot stop the spread of COVID, but it is an added layer of protection that can help us move closer to a COVID-free future. 

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