If you’ve been out in public since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, you’ve probably seen people struggle with the concept of social distancing. Some people, distracted by whatever they’re doing, simply forget, walking up to stand right beside you in the cereal aisle at the market. Others intentionally flout the guidelines despite the risks. As more businesses attempt to cautiously re-open, there’s clearly a need for creative ways to encourage people to remain at least six feet apart.
Tape on the floor is helpful for those willing to follow the rules, but it’s easily ignored. What if more physical barriers were erected instead? One idea from metal chain-link manufacturer Kriskadecor offers a translucent, high-style option that won’t make people feel like they’re trapped in a plastic bubble. Just as importantly, they’re attractive and customizable, adding to the look of the spaces they’re in rather than detracting from them.
Unlike plexiglass shields, Kriskadecor’s permeable metal mesh space dividers clearly aren’t going to prevent infectious airborne particles from traveling between two people. But what they can do is define certain areas of the room, making it very clear where people should sit or stand. The company put out a press release explaining why they think their products are a good choice for enforcing physical distancing for the foreseeable future.
They explain that “the ‘new normal’ will have a direct impact on the design sector due to the need to incorporate protection and physical distancing measures in public spaces such as bars, restaurants, hotels, offices, shops, etc. To adapt to these changes, Kriskadecor offers fully customized space dividers to manage the flow of people, signpost common spaces, or create different environments without the need to implement heavy structures.”
“Thanks to the versatility and lightness of the anodized aluminum links, the partitions integrate seamlessly into any project. The customer can choose the colors, shapes, and dimensions, as well as fixed or mobile systems that are easy to install. It is also possible to reproduce signage elements such as logos, icons, designs, and prints of all kinds.”
The links create dividers without “breaking the visual field,” so you can still see the whole room and light and air can flow freely. Hopefully, given that indoor spaces are still risky even when everyone remains six feet apart, any indoor spaces that use measures like these will also be carefully ventilated, and visitors will be required to wear face masks. Kriskadecor notes that the chain material can be washed and disinfected without affecting its finish, either by spraying it with a solution of alcohol and water or steaming it.
Of course, impermeable physical barriers can still be helpful for situations where people need to be closer to each other, like reception desks, bars, restaurants, and checkout counters. Many stores are starting to install “sneeze guards” to protect their employees, and some concepts like the “Plex’Eat” make it possible to dine indoors with reduced risk of infection from people sitting or standing nearby. A dome-shaped transparent shield that hangs from the ceiling, this design is bound to be a little more controversial than a chain link divider, but it’s also more effective.