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Are Glass Partitioning Systems Here to Stay for the Public Sector?

There are many aspects of social distancing during the pandemic that are likely to become obsolete eventually, but glass partitions in public-facing environments may well remain, as CRL Europe’s Managing Director Simon Boocock explains for PSBJ.

C R Laurence

Public sector buildings, including healthcare, leisure and education environments, look a little different in 2021 as we emerge from lockdown to how they were just over a year ago when the pandemic first reach UK shores.

Although partitioning systems in reception areas aren’t completely new, before now they have been specified more to offer employees a level of safety against intruders, rather than to guard against a potentially deadly virus. Now, with society used to social distancing measurements, these protective screens have become quite a common sight in public settings.

Being able to interact with customers remains important, of course, making solutions that don’t compromise on the ability to communicate important, along with maintaining the natural flow of the space. Compromising on the interior design or layout of the building’s interior is never on the agenda and being able to adjust the screening easily as requirements change is also a priority. Glass or clear plastic partitioning means that is not impaired but the spread of germs can be halted.

For many building managers, this change had to be made fairly rapidly; in order to comply with Government Covid-safe regulations for re-opening such safety measures had to be implemented on an incredibly short turnaround, meaning that completely changing the layout of a room or making any structural alterations was not possible. Instead, what was needed was a flexible, perhaps temporary solution that could be installed quickly and changed as necessary.

For desktop settings for example, portable partition screening offers a great deal of flexibility, making a desk or countertop barrier with no need for screwing into furniture. Additional screens can also be added to increase the width of the barrier and all such solutions removed the headache of installation.

Partition posts for glass screens ensure that such solutions can be added without negatively impacting on the aesthetics of the surroundings. These allow for discreet, elegant, secure, safe screens to be fitted to existing areas that require partitions sympathetically with the surroundings, be it office desks, reception areas, dining spaces and serveries.

Once in place such partitioning systems offer a practical and effective barrier against coughing, sneezing and the general spread of germs. This is, of course, supremely important during a global pandemic, but there is much to be said for the existence of such systems in a post-pandemic world too. Research is ongoing into the effect of distancing measures such as mask wearing in public places and increased hand washing in the reduction in the spread of all germs, not just Coronavirus, with statistics already suggesting that the ‘normal’ cold and flu season in Covid-hit countries has been reduced as a result.

The same argument can then be made for glass partitioning systems in public sector buildings. A glass or clear plastic screening system that acts as a protective barrier against the spread of germs, while not in any way negatively impacting the aesthetics or acoustics of the environments surely has longevity.

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