Breaking News Today

Plastic screens at shop counters ‘risk more harm than good’

Published: in Australian News by .

Plastic screens fitted to supermarket checkouts and shop counters to prevent the spread of COVID-19 could be causing more harm than good, according to an expert.

Plastic screens fitted to supermarket checkouts and shop counters to prevent the spread of COVID-19 could be causing more harm than good, according to an expert.

Last year after the pandemic hit Australia, supermarkets and other retailers spent hundreds of millions of dollars on measures to combat coronavirus such as screens, antibacterial gel and extra staff on doors.

But some retailers in Australia and overseas have recently taken down the clear barriers after they found the screens made it hard for customers to talk to staff and led customers to ignore social distancing rules.

LIVE UPDATES: NSW records 1542 cases, nine deaths with virus

Geoff Hanmer, from the University of Adelaide, told nine.com.au the screens were probably causing "more harm than good".

"Anything that creates stagnant pockets of air, whether it is a screen or furniture, is not helpful to making sure spaces are properly ventilated," Professor Hanmer said.

"In certain situations, it can be potentially dangerous."

He says a major public health goal in preventing the spread of COVID-19 is to dilute people's breath so there is less chance they will be infected.

"It's bad when you have staff together, behind a wall of screens, because if one person is infected, the others will become infected," Professor Hanmer said.

And in some cases, the screens can lead to poor social distancing and a breach of health orders, such as when people poke their heads around them to communicate with staff or stay behind them but pull their masks down as they try to talk louder.

READ:  Boy, 13, critical after suffering head injuries when struck by car

Some major UK supermarket companies are considering removing their plastic screens, reports say, but the barriers are likely to remain in Australian supermarkets for some time.

READ MORE: Publicans in regional Victoria say new capacity restrictions are unworkable

Coles says its screens were installed last year as an extra pandemic measure.

"Coles implemented screens in 2020 as an additional COVID-safe measure in line with health directions and COVID-safe plans," a spokesman said.

"We don't intend to remove these unless health directions change."

READ MORE: Fears NSW roadmap out of lockdown leaves young people behind

A spokesman for Woolworths says the company plans to keep screens but will continue to monitor public health developments.

"Our plexiglass screens provide an additional safeguard for our team members and customers and remain a part of our COVID-safe plans," he said.

"As always, we'll continue to monitor the latest health advice to ensure our stores have the right COVID-safe settings."

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-australia-plastic-screens-supermarket-checkouts-shop-counters-health-risk-expert/0065c937-5a23-4e59-b87f-fec513b2b347

Shares
Share This
Finance Advice 2021