As COVID-19 makes us all more mindful of the need for “social distancing,” operable walls and partitions may offer a simple way for restaurants and similar businesses to help protect the health of their customers and staff while still hosting a shared public dining space.

A chef in Cleveland, Ohio, for example, is using transparent room dividers to divide up his restaurant tables into their own private sections. He actually created the design himself and now provides them in different sizes, styles and colors for other businesses in the area who need similar solutions. Diners can see the other guests in a restaurant while maintaining social-distance safety requirements; the clear dividers also have a washable surface to allow for easy clean-up, or for use as a message board with dry-erase markers. This solution is a great step forward for using operable walls and partitions in places other than office buildings.

Adjusting to a New Norm with Custom Room Dividers

Using room dividers creatively in this way has benefits beyond protecting the health of customers and staff. It will also help customers feel safer, resulting in a more enjoyable time at your establishment. And it will send the message that you are proactively taking steps to safeguard their well-being, beyond whatever social distancing requirements may be mandated in your locality. That’s an invaluable source of goodwill for your business. People are dying to get out of their houses right now, but in a way that doesn’t endanger their family or others. Where we used to see operable walls and partitions in more corporate spaces, or not at all, they’re proving a useful adaptation to a COVID-riddled world.

Commercially available operable walls and partitions come in a variety of types, from accordion folding walls to automated hinged partitions to see-through cubicles, allowing a business to divide up its internal space in the way most suitable to its needs. Their placement can reflect the six-foot margin recommended for social distancing, which some retail businesses are now marking with floor tape in their stores. And they can be installed to be permanent fixtures, or temporary and movable.

Where You Can Find Movable Partitions

Just as all other businesses have had to adapt to COVID-era safety mandates, so too have exterior door installers. Companies that supply and install storefront doors and windows are expanding their work to include operable walls and partitions for businesses like restaurants and cafes, who need these solutions quickly and affordably. Besides the increased demand for automated commercial door hardware that decreases the danger of contracting COVID through shared surfaces, the increased need for partitions is also moving the commercial door business in a new direction. And something all business owners should think about when installing these new “walls” is that more likely than not, these partitions that were meant to be temporary will probably become permanent.