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How to Prevent a Second National Lockdown - with a little help from PlasticsĀ 

Written by MS
28/09/2020 12:00:48

For the first time in five months, deaths due to COVID-19 began to rise again in September, denoting the end of a period that saw daily drops in the number of infections. This increase comes after a summer period wherein the Government attempted to highlight and encourage economic growth after lockdown set us on course for the worst recession in recorded history. 

Now, the messaging is changing. While in August, the Government was telling us to ‘Eat Out To Help Out’, this month they are shutting pubs and restaurants at 10pm and implementing tighter social distancing measures such as the ‘rule of six’ - and rightly so. Their priority is to keep schools open throughout winter when we are likely to struggle with the coronavirus as respiratory problems become more prevalent in this season. 

In a press conference last week, Professor Chris Whitty said we had ‘turned a corner’ in our country’s battle with coronavirus and, if we did not take appropriate steps, we could see cases soar to 50,000 per day in mid-October. A situation such as this would undoubtedly lead to more deaths and the need for a nationwide lockdown - as we had in March through to June - which would only hamper the economy further. 

As fears of a potential second lockdown became apparent last week, £50bn was immediately wiped from the UK stock market on Monday 21st September, and the London FSTE 100 share index closed on said day, down 3.4%. If the situation becomes more dire and uncertain, we are only going to see a further decline in this area. 

This second spike comes as no surprise. Officials and experts in the SAGE advisory committee have been warning about the potential for a second wave since we began recovering from the first one, and we have already seen increases in cases numbers and deaths across Europe. In Italy, Spain and France, they have started to reintroduce some tighter restrictions to help stem the transmission rate. 

If we want to avoid the same draconian methods that were put in place back in March, we need to act now to prevent a snowballing effect. That’s why in today’s blog, we are focusing on how to help prevent the country from falling into a second national lockdown. We are going to highlight some of the key methods that limit - or stop altogether - the transmission of coronavirus.

Social Distancing:

Social Distancing is a term that no one had really heard of before March/February of this, but now it is one of the most common phrases we hear every day. When you venture to the high street, there are signs stuck to lampposts and painted on the pavements reminding you to stay two-metres apart. In many shops, there is a limit to the number of customers that are allowed in at any one time to make sure we can all keep our distance. 

One of the main concerns about reopening pubs was the fact that social distancing regulations might not be observed as strictly once everyone has had a few drinks. And, evidently, experts think this is the case as new regulations forcing pubs and restaurants to close at 10pm will, hopefully, defeat this issue. 

But we each have a part to play when it comes to social distancing. Whether you work in a store, office block or attend a school, we can each commit to keeping our distance from those not in our ‘social bubbles’. This may involve introducing - or enforcing - one-way routes around sites or perhaps you need to organise staggered arrival and departure times to avoid over-crowding in particular places such as corridors. 

Sticking to the two-metre rule - or, at least, one metre's distanced if there are other preventative measures in place - is an easy way to stop the spread of coronavirus. We might expect to see greater queues outside places such as supermarkets again as stores become warier of the regulations and the number of customers they can accept in at any one time. 

Social distancing also includes following government guidance such as the ‘rule of six’ which means that no more than six individuals can meet at once. Keeping to these low figures is key to making sure that transmission of the virus does not hit an exponential rate. Remembering or recording who you meet with might also be helpful for track and trace purposes in future. 

Sneeze Guards and Protective Screens:

Now, we understand that there are some situations where keeping to the two-metre rule is virtually impossible due to the size of a store or the number of people present in a certain location. On top of this, it can be a rule that’s hard to police and keep tabs on at all times while you are also trying to do your job. There is a solution to this. 

Sneeze Guards (also known as Protective Screens or Social Distancing Screens) are the perfect physical barriers between you and the virus. Made from plastics such as Perspex and Polycarbonate, these screens are cost-effective and durable, making them ideal for any environment. They can also be mounted onto wheels to allow them to moved around a space easily. 

We have had customers purchase sneeze guards for a whole host of environments, including barbers, gyms, offices, schools and retail shops. They have a versatile range of uses. For instance, we are used to seeing transparent screens at checkouts to protect the cashiers, but these transparent screens are also now being used in schools to divide workstations while maintaining a collaborative atmosphere as they are as clear as glass. 

The Polycarbonate screens we offer are translucent - providing more privacy. These are commonly installed between workstations in barbers, gyms, nail bars and restaurants to allow your clientele a little extra seclusion. 

What’s more is these screens can simply be wiped clean at the start and end of each working day with soapy, warm water and a sponge. They are easy to maintain and will not become less effective over time. 

If we want to really defeat the coronavirus and minimise transmission, we should be installing protective screens in all suitable settings. They are the only sure-fire way to physically prevent transmission and without them being used in locations such as supermarkets already, we would be in a worse position overall. 

Check out our range on our website: or contact our sales team for bespoke and high quantity orders: 

Track & Trace:

The World Health Organisation gave us all one main piece of advice at the start of the pandemic, ‘test, test, test’. 

The UK’s relationship with testing has been a fraught one, to say the least… There have been several hiccups in the past with our major testing systems and the track and trace app itself due to shortages in both staff and laboratory space for the testing to take place. 

This has been counted by a new plan from the government: ‘Operation Moonshot’. Under this plan, by early 2021, we will be testing millions of people every day and be able to provide results in under an hour. This will allow people to know whether it is safe for them to go to work/school that day. 

The main way we can all help work toward this safer system of testing is via operating clear track and trace schemes in our places of work. This may take the form of placing QR codes around your office that direct people to ‘check-in’ via the NHS app or if you work at a school, for example, general registration at the start of each day might be the solution. 

We are used to having to book in advance for restaurants and sign their track and trace documents, so why not introduce this into our working life as well? 

Italy is currently operating a testing system that can give a patient results in less than half an hour and this is vital for them to keep businesses open. The more we know about who has and who hasn’t got the virus, the safer we can make our places of work and avoid a nationwide lockdown. 

So there you have it, the top three tips from The Plastic People on how we can all help prevent a second lockdown in the UK. This is by no means an extensive list; there are additional steps you can take and some more obvious one that we didn’t mention, such as cleaning schedules for equipment, work stations etc. 

If you have any more tips you think we should include in this, and future, guide(s), get in touch! We can be reached on Twitter and Instagram, @barkstonplastic and would love to hear from you. If you want to stay update-to-date with our work, sign-up to our bi-weekly email newsletter by clicking here

Hopefully, soon we will be able to write about the great efforts we have all made to avoid a second lockdown. We are sure to see sneeze guards being introduced into more settings and places of work so make sure you order yours while stocks last! 
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