How to build a sneeze guard
How to build a sneeze guardAdvice on the types of sneeze guard available, and how to make you own.
Sneeze guards, screen guards, protective screens, acrylic shields… whatever you call them, they all follow the same design; a simple clear acrylic screen that is positioned to provide an invisible divide between people and/or products.
What is the point of a sneeze guard?
Sneeze guards are most common around cashier counters, but you can use them wherever you feel there is a need to provide extra protection for staff and the public. A sneeze guard provides a physical barrier that will help contain the areas where cross contamination could occur. Depending on the design of the sneeze guard, cash can still be exchanged below the screen. It is worth noting that a sneeze guard should be regularly sanitised on both sides, in the same way you would clean any part of your environment.
What types of sneeze guard are there?
Sneeze guards to not need to be over engineered, they should be a screen that is easy to put up and keep clean, and take down if needed. There are a number of designs out there that all achieve the same end goal.
A simple square sneeze guard
The quickest screen guards are the simplest. Provided the side of your counter is flat and sturdy, you can fix a sheet of clear acrylic directly onto the side. Shaping the top corners of the screen into a curve adds an aesthetic element, but leaving them square does not detract from the practical element.
This type of sneeze guard is best suited to small areas, and may be prone to bending or cracking due to the lack of side supports.
Suspended sneeze guards
An increasingly popular solution is a suspended sneeze guard. This option is useful if you don’t have a suitable counter to fix to. Drill holes into the corners of a clear acrylic sheet, or clip into a frame, and suspend using a suitable hanging system. It really is as simple as that.
One downside of this type of screen is that it is prone to swinging. To prevent too much movement, an easy solution is to use small fixings to tether the screen to the floor or counter below.
Free standing sneeze guards
If you have a counter you cannot fix directly onto, or a ceiling that you cannot suspend anything from, your best option is a free standing sneeze guard. This type of guard does not require any permanent changes to your existing setup, and can be moved to wherever it needs to be quickly and easily.
The main downside of free standing sneeze guards is that they could be prone to moving or falling as they are not fixed to anything solid.
Full length sneeze guards
It is sometimes difficult to pin point exact areas where a screen would be needed. this is often the case for long trade counters. The easiest solution is to fit a sneeze guard along the full length of the counter so you can be confident you’ve provided the most complete guard available.
To allow cash to be exchanged you can either cut small counter level openings, or leave a small gap at the base of the screen.
How to make a basic sneeze guard
Here is our guide to installing a quick and simple full length screen guard.
What do you need?
Clear acrylic sheeting
enough to run the full length of the counter
enough to secure the ends of each acrylic sheet
Handsaw or jigsaw
for cutting acrylic sheets and battens if needed
to fix battens to counter and a acrylic sheet
What do you need to do?
Fix initial supports
We wanted the screen to be removable without any visible fixing marks. To achieve this, we fixed a short piece of batten to the underside of the counter-top lip. This then became our main fixing point. Repeat this along the counter top, spacing the supports so they are an acrylic sheet length apart.
Fix full height supports
We wanted to ensure that our main supports were sturdy enough to securely hold full lengths of acrylic sheet, therefore we opted to have vertical supports that stood on the floor. Fix a batten to each initial support you have fixed. The batten should be long enough to reach the height of the counter, any gap you require below the screen, plus the height of the screen.
Fix the screen
You’ll need two people for this bit – fix the acrylic sheet between two vertical battens using appropriate fixings.