A product that has been used for decades by construction companies for a variety of purposes is enjoying a coronavirus-inspired boom.
According to reports, acrylic sheet, or plexiglass, manufacturing is up by more than 300 percent in the three months since the COVID-19 outbreak.
For contractors, the material has been more typically used for windows, skylights, and even solar panels.
But according to the New York-based Independent Commodity Intelligence Services, orders for the clear plastic partitions seen in millions of grocery and drug stores, coffee shops, and banks, among other businesses, have led to a surge in both production and sales.
These clear barriers, noted the Miami Herald in an article announcing that all of the more than 1,200 Publix Super Markets would soon have them, are the “kind of protection usually associated with keeping bullets from gas station or pawnshop workers.”
Also known as “sneeze guards,” the demand for the product is only like to increase in the months ahead, says Forbes magazine, which notes: “As offices and other non-essential businesses reopen, barriers made out of material like plexiglass are essential.”
In its advertising, Interstate Plastics of Sacramento says that such shields are “designed to act as a physical barrier to stop the spread of germs,” adding that they are being deployed everywhere from “pharmacies to government agencies, banks, and grocery stores.”
Reports the publication Marker: “If a COVID-19 vaccine isn’t discovered, plexiglass dividers could feasibly soon be everywhere from public parks to churches to commuter trains.”
But because of the demand, contractors are reporting that wait times for the clear sheeting are no longer measured in weeks, but rather months, while prices have increased by anywhere from 10 to 20 percent.
By Garry Boulard
Get stories like these right to your inbox.