perspex screens

Supermarkets Planning to Scrap Plastic Screens

In another small step towards normality, supermarket bosses have finally begun preparations to remove the plastic screens at tills that were intended to act as a protective measure against Covid. The Telegraph has the story.

Major supermarkets and non-food retailers have held early discussions with contractors over how and when they might be taken down, industry sources said. One senior executive said: “They don’t want the removal to be just another plastic crime that occurs, so we’ve started those discussions.” 

One of the options being considered is a scheme to recycle the screens en masse and recover some of the costs of purchasing them at the start of the pandemic.

Supermarkets spent hundreds of millions of pounds on measures such as screens, antibacterial gel and extra staff at the doors.

The costs were cited by some retailers, including Iceland and Waitrose, as a reason not to pay back the business rates relief even as food sales boomed.

Although no deadline has been set, one removal company is putting together a plan “to get rid of them”.

After ‘Freedom Day’ in July, sandwich chain Pret was the first company to remove screens saying it would “help speed up service and ensure we limit overcrowding”. It also swiftly made face coverings voluntary for staff and customers. High street retailers were divided at the time whether to ask customers to keep their masks.

Since July, the Government has asked employers to continue to use measures to reduce potential spread of the virus, but much of the language now involves “encouraging” firms to do so.

Worth reading in full.

Government Told to Ban Perspex Screens in Pubs and Offices Because They Increase Transmission

Perspex screens appear to have joined the long list of measures introduced to mitigate the impact of SARS-CoV-2 which actually make matters worse. Alex Wickham of Politico has got hold of a leaked planning document describing what Stage 4 of the roadmap will look like and what social distancing measures will remain in place throughout the winter and possibly beyond. He reports that the Government has been urged to ban the use of these screens in pubs, restaurants and offices.

Not only do Perspex screens not stop the spread of the virus, they may actually increase transmission! More from Alex here:

Problems include them not being positioned correctly, with the possibility that they actually increase the risk of transmission by blocking airflow. Therefore there is clear guidance to ministers that these perspex screens should be scrapped.

Even if perspex screens are scrapped, the guidelines on face masks will likely remain place in some settings “long-term”, Alex Reports, despite evidence of their benefits being equally threadbare.

Stop Press: You can read more about the leaked Stage 4 planning document here.