As restrictions lift, patronage will return to bars, pubs and clubs. However, the biggest risk to clientele numbers are not probably the limits placed by government but by the concerns of patrons in being in populated environments. Physical steps taken, such the installation of hygiene screens or sneeze screens (as they are typically called) will be instrumental in giving patrons confidence. An argument can be made that sneeze screens will only provide limited protection for staff at the bar when a patron, possibly infected, is interacting with them through the sneeze screen. Undoubtedly, a cut to size Perspex® screen or Plexiglas® barrier will definitely catch some airborne droplets thus providing protection for the staff and the customer in the other direction. But other interactions between customers with each other and between staff and patrons (for example when a staff member cleans up the customer tables) will not have the benefit of a sneeze screen so that there won’t be a curb on those germs spreading.
But the physical protection of a sneeze screen is only one element of the benefit they provide a bar or club. The alternative to physical barriers and partitions such as sneeze screens or cut to size Perspex® or a Plexiglas® shield is to do nothing. And this gives the feeling to patrons that no attempt has been made the make the premises COVID-safe and no attempt has been made to improve hygiene. Installing sneeze screens illustrate a concrete effort to create a premises where hygiene is a genuine concern and will give a degree of confidence to patrons that their risk of contracting COVID are lessened versus visiting an establishment where no attempt has been made to install sneeze screens, hygiene screens or any other Perspex® or Plexiglas® guard.