Why Is Sneeze Guard Glass Important?

Many ask, why is sneeze guard glass important as we fight Covid-19 and other infections. The answer is simple. 

Did you know that a cough can move as quickly as 50 mph and eject as many as 3,000 droplets? Sneezes are more powerful – they can travel as fast as 100 mph and produce around 100,000 droplets. That’s insane to think about but it shows how powerful and dangerous coughs and sneezes can be.

hanging sneeze guard acrylic barrier hanging ceiling mount coronavirus covid-19 disease prevention

According to the American Lung Association, coughs and sneezes are how your body gets rid of irritations found in your lungs and nose. Coughs and sneezes are a good thing for us individually, because they can expel all kinds of germs and bugs.

Unfortunately, removing those irritations in this violent way means that we’re spreading germs with a huge spray of mucus and saliva. That is the reason that the FDA requires self-serve fast food displays, portable food carts, school, and hospital cafeterias, and restaurants with buffets to use sneeze guard glass for food safety.

Experts in public health and other elected officials repeatedly have said that social distancing is one of the best ways to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. However, many businesses can't keep workers six feet apart merely because of the nature of their business.

Think about the exchanges between assembly-line employees standing next to each other in processing plants, or employees in cubicles sitting side-by-side, or even a teller and a banking customer. In these situations, social distancing can't be done, and a sneeze guard glass shield can limit the spread of germs and pathogens.

Restaurants were the first to install sneeze guard glass around "all you can eat" buffets and salad bars in the 1950s to prevent customers from contaminating the food. Today, sneeze guard glass is being installed in all kinds of businesses, including grocery stores, to prevent the spread of the extremely contagious coronavirus.

Sneeze guard glass isn't a medical device. Still, they have personal protection equipment (PPE) properties that contribute to slowing down the spread of disease – even if an employee and customer aren't wearing masks. These barriers also add an extra level of assurance of safety as they start to reenter the new normal of daily life.

Installing sneeze guard glass also demonstrates that a business is dedicated to its staff and customers' health. They can also be used as a reminder to use proper hygiene to prevent spreading COVID-19. Like disposable gloves and masks, sneeze guard glass shields are becoming a new icon for the current pandemic.

But why is sneeze guard glass so important? What does it do to keep COVID-19 at bay? Let’s take a look at answering these questions and talk more about why it’s important. 

History of Sneeze Guard Glass

Johnny Garneau, who ran and owned the American Style Smorgasbord restaurant chain in Pennsylvania and Ohio back in 1959, filed for a patent called the "Food Service Table," which would later be known as sneeze guard glass.

Garneau was an admitted germaphobe, so he couldn't deal with customers sniffing the entrees and putting their noses near the food. So, he put his "Food Service Table" in all of his restaurants and indirectly played a huge role in food safety initiatives.

In the early 1960s, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulated the presence of sneeze guard glass in restaurants around the country. Nowadays, with the coronavirus prevalent, you can find his invention everywhere.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Standards

The CDC suggests that sneeze guard glass be used to protect people from COVID-19, but there are no government codes or standards requiring sneeze guard glass at this time. The FDA requires self-serve fast food displays, portable food carts, school, and hospital cafeterias, and restaurants with buffets to use sneeze guard glass for food safety.

So, right now, businesses aren't required to use sneeze guard glass barriers. However, it's highly recommended to stop the spread of COVID-19. Because of this, most companies have started to implement the use of them.

Why You Should Have Sneeze Guard Glass

Sneeze guard glass provides valuable protection for workers. The acrylic sneeze guards are scratch-resistant, virtually unbreakable, and designed to last. Plus, by having sneeze guard glass up, workers are protected against would-be thieves.

Sneeze guard glass works to prevent the spread of germs from passing from person to person or person to food via coughing or sneezing. Viruses can be spread through sneezing and coughing, especially coronavirus.

By having sneeze guard glass set up in schools, banks, stores, and other workplaces, workers are protected against coughs and sneezes that could cause the spread of diseases. This is why it's important to recognize sneeze guard glass as a simple way to limit the spread of diseases.

Made from high-quality glass or acrylic, sneeze guard glass protective barriers are a common sight in most stores nowadays due to the growing COVID-19 epidemic. Sneeze guard glass is used to protect people from becoming infected with COVID-19. 

As the COVID-19 outbreak continues throughout the world, and even after it has passed, sneeze guard glass – a previously niche product – will become permanent fixtures in many businesses.

Sneeze Guard Glass Specifications

When it comes to figuring out what size sneeze guard glass you need, you need to think about the average customer. With this in mind, you typically want the sneeze guard glass protective barrier between 5 and 6 feet tall if it's standing on its own. If you're using it on a counter or other raised surface, they can be shorter.

Overall, the most effective sneeze guard glass barrier is wide and tall enough to cover the interaction between a worker and a customer.

When choosing the material that the sneeze guard glass is made from, it's highly recommended that you go with an acrylic glass barrier. As mentioned earlier, it's nearly impossible to damage. Some manufacturers use plexiglass or tempered glass to make sneeze guard glass. However, sneeze guard glass made from polycarbonate holds many advantages over its counterparts.

Polycarbonate is nearly impossible to scratch, which reduces the risk of bacteria nesting in the scratches and can be easily cleaned. Additionally, it's much more durable than glass and significantly lighter in weight, while also providing great resistance to long-term exposure to environmental elements, like UV rays.

It's also strong enough to take sharp impacts and abrasive cleaning chemicals without being damaged. Polycarbonate panels won't be damaged by customers or employees leaning on it either. Plus, from the standpoint of the manufacturer, polycarbonate sneeze guard glass can be easily routed, formed, drilled, sawed, and bent without breaking or snapping under stress.

Sneeze guard glass that has a rugged metal frame also offers durability and strength. If you go with stainless-steel frames, you'll even find that they can be cleaned daily, per the CDC recommendations, and still be as strong as before.

Sneeze guard glass barriers that are cheaply made are very unlikely to withstand daily wear and tear rigors. You should also avoid frames that have cracks or significant gaps that encourage the buildup of bacteria; instead, you should demand full penetration welds.

These barriers need to be able to withstand the rigors of frequent deep cleaning with the use of scorching temperatures, pressurized wash downs, and specific cleaning agents, such as ammonia, isopropyl alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, ethanol and soap solutions. All of these cleaning agents are recommended by the CDC to help fight COVID-19. Disinfection should be done daily.

Where to Buy Sneeze Guard Glass?

American Image Displays offers a variety of sneeze guard glass options for you to choose from. While sneeze guard glass protective barriers won't fully protect you from disease, they will go a long way in stopping the spread. Plus, having them shows customers that you're committed to the safety and health of everyone.

The types of sneeze guard glass available from American Image Displays include standing, hanging, and retractable. All of them have minimal and universal installation steps and are made from high-quality materials designed to last.

Standing sneeze guard glass barriers have feet and rest on the countertop at your business. Hanging barriers can be attached to most ceilings or overhead structures and provide a suspended barrier for your business. Finally, retractable barriers work like regular retractable banner stands; you set the base on the floor and pull the barrier up to latch it onto the pole.


Sneeze guard glass works best when used alongside other proven methods, including enhanced hygiene and cleaning practices, social distancing measures, PPE, and drastic changes in how services are provided, especially in hospitality and retail industries.

So, what will the new normal daily life look like when the COVID-19 pandemic is over? Most likely, adjustments made to live that were thought of as temporary will become permanent, including habitual washing of hands, wearing masks, and sneeze guard glass in any business where people interact in close proximity.

Sneeze guard glass barriers are a huge step in the right direction to stop the spread of COVID-19. They protect employees and customers from spreading germs to each other, but they also remind people to wear masks and wash their hands. More and more businesses will start using sneeze guard glass barriers, which will make a difference in the fight against the coronavirus.