Sneeze shields have been having their moment, to put it lightly. The need for plastic partitions to form a protective barrier between people is still there as virus variants surge and people gradually forget their initial pandemic hygiene. For any new businesses trying to start up now, adding plastic partitions or sneeze shields is a must. It helps to learn early on about what the shields are supposed to do and how best to care for them.
Do These Really Stop the Spread of Diseases?
The point of a sneeze shield is to stop the spread of germs expelled from your mouth as you sneeze or cough. With the COVID-19 pandemic, that purpose was expanded to include stopping the spread of germs that you emit when you talk. Germs don't simply come out on one mass headed in a straight line. It is likely that as you talk, cough or sneeze, some germs are floating off to the side, above your head and so on. However, a good number likely do come out and hit whatever is in front of you. Hence the sneeze shield stops that bunch of germs. So yes, these do play an actual role in reducing disease transmission. However, they are not the be-all-end-all, and you and your staff (and customers or visitors) should still wear masks while the pandemic is a concern. And during and after the pandemic, encourage good hygiene like washing hands and not sneezing or coughing at anyone without covering one's mouth.
What's the Best Configuration to Use?
Anything that holds the shield steady is best. You don't want to hang shields, for example, as then the shield can move when airflow from the air conditioner or heater hits it. Shields that sit on a counter or table but that can be moved are better but not optimal as someone could just move them out of the way, rendering them useless. Permanently installed shields are best. You should also look into corner units that help block more of the flow of germs and droplets around the edges of the shields.
How Often Should You Clean Them?
This is going to vary based on how often you use them and for what. A busy cashier who constantly deals with people on the other side of the barrier may want to clean it frequently, while a barrier at an unused register may need to be cleaned less often. All should be cleaned at least once a day, of course, but more frequently is better. Luckily, these can be cleaned with commercially available and easy-to-get cleaners.
These sneeze shields should be customised to your particular situation. The sheets can be cut to many sizes and shapes, so it should be possible to get a good, tight fit that protects you and your workers.