They’re also a great way to enforce social distancing.

By Braelyn Wood
Updated October 27, 2020
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Efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus around the United States have led to protective measures like social distancing, touch tools, face masks, and hand sanitizer. Another safety precaution that’s quickly becoming a normal sight in public spaces are sneeze guards; the plexiglass and vinyl shields protect workers and wearers from coronavirus-carrying droplets released when people sneeze, cough, or speak.

Although permanent and personal sneeze guards were in some public places prior to the pandemic, they’ve become a staple at grocery store checkouts and take-out restaurants this spring as an easy way to protect workers and enforce space boundaries. In fact, Google recorded a 200% increase in search for sneeze guards as people seek out additional safeguards. 

But sneeze guards aren’t just for takeaway: You can actually shop for your own sneeze guard to bring these protective measures into your day-to-day life. Shops like Etsy and Wayfair sell sneeze guards that can be used in your office space or business as governments start to lift lockdown restrictions. Plus, there are even personal sneeze guards, also known as face shields, that act as an additional barrier of protection.

Below, we break down the different sneeze guards you can invest in now to keep your personal space, well, personal. 

1. MhandmadeUSA Acrylic Sneeze Guard

Courtesy of Etsy

This shatter-resistant plexiglass shield is a top pick for receptionists, cashiers, and other workers coming face-to-face with the public. The standard design is 1/8 of an inch thick to provide a non-intrusive barrier from others and comes in a variety of sizes starting at just 16 inches wide by 16 inches tall. Plus, it ships free in the United States and includes 2 legs for a fast and easy set-up.

Available at etsy.com, from $60

2. Tuello Face Shield Mask

Dentists and optometrists will feel safer getting up close and personal with patients sporting this reusable face shield. The lightweight visor features an elastic headband and foam barrier on the forehead to ensure comfort through hours of wear. It’s also anti-fog and fits safely over glasses. And unlike many cloth masks, it’s actually breathable and easy to clean—just use a wet wipe.

Available at etsy.com, $10

3. SpaceMakers Sneeze Guard

Courtesy of Wayfair

Returning to the office? These space-saving guards will keep your coworkers at arm’s length without disrupting your daily check-in. The clear, recyclable plexiglass panels can be assembled alongside additional guards without creating gaps for an extra secure space. Plus, they’re safe to clean with harsh chemicals. 

Available at wayfair.com, from $370

4. WrightPrototype Face Shield

Courtesy of Etsy

This clever hat is a top pick for anyone that spends their days outdoors: It converts a comfy cotton visor into a personal sneeze guard with a vinyl shield. The adjustable visor can be lifted up or down throughout the day and safely fits over an N95 mask. It comes in 4 neutral colors and can be washed with soap and water.

Available at etsy.com, $20

5. Essentials Rectangular Sneeze Guard

Courtesy of Wayfair

Whether you’re serving food at a small gathering or professional setting, this affordable sneeze guard is an easy way to protect from germs. The rectangular guard is easy to set up and weights just 4 pounds. You’ll love that it’s easy to clean—just soap and water—and comes with a 6-month warranty.

Available at wayfair.com, $72 (was $84)

6. EZShields Clip-On Sneeze Guard

Courtesy of Etsy

This affordable shield is made from a clear, flexible polycarbonate that can easily be attached to any hat using the 3 included hat clips. Unlike sunglasses, it won’t fog up and, when worn with a mask, can be reused over and over. The same seller also makes a clip-on shield for sunglasses.

Available at etsy.com, $9

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