When you make plans to open your restaurant back up to dine-in, pickup, or even just delivery options, safety is paramount, but sometimes social distancing isn't enough. Plexiglass shields are a popular choice for restaurant owners to add an additional barrier between patrons and employees.
There are many stores online where you can buy mass-produced versions (see below for links if this is your preference), but these may be too expensive and not customizable to your particular needs.
If you’re looking for a more customizable and cheaper version with just the same effectiveness, there are other ways you can make your own DIY plexiglass shields or sneeze guards.
For all of these project options, you’ll need to make sure you buy plexiglass or clear acrylic sheets. Amazon has a lot of different options at varying thicknesses and sizes. Find them here. Just find the size that suits your particular needs, and remember that the thicker the sheet, the less bendy and malleable the sheet will be. Depending on your needs, a thicker or thinner sheet may be better.
Types of Barriers or Shields you can Make
1. Hanging Shield
The simplest option is a hanging shield. This may be a good option at a cashier stand, or greeters stand.
Step 1: Drill holes through a sheet of plexiglass (tip: use a special plexiglass drill bit to avoid cracking or chipping).
Step 2: Hang the sheet from the ceiling in the position necessary to create a barrier between your employees and patrons.
2. Standing Shield
Place it wherever you need to create a barrier between people. Suitable uses include counters where people eat or as a barrier between sit down tables.
Step 1: Cut 4 2x4’s to the same height as the piece of plexiglass you are using.
Step 2: On one edge of the plexiglass, vertically place 2 of the 2x4’s with the piece of plexiglass between them and drill three holes through them all.
Step 3: Fasten them all together with screws and do the same on the other edge of the plexiglass sheet. At this point, you have a piece of plexiglass with wood on both sides.
Step 4: Using another 2x4, drill the piece into the bottom of the wood legs perpendicular to the screen to create the legs for the standing shield. Do the same on the other side with another 2x4.
Step 5: Flip it upside down, and you now have a standing shield. You can add additional pieces, such as in the picture below, towards the legs for added support.
Either of these methods will provide your restaurant with a fast and easy-to-make alternative to expensive store-bought plexiglass shields. Keep your employees and patrons safe with shields like these.