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'Sneeze screens' a sign of the times

Workers considered essential by the state are taking extra precautions to keep themselves and the people they interact with safe and healthy.

SCOTT TOWNSHIP, Pa. — It's a sign of the times and another line of defense to protect people in this era of social distancing.

So-called "sneeze screens" have been put up between the cashiers and the customers at Justus True Value in Scott Township.

"With everything going on right now, we're just trying to protect our employees and our customers," said store manager Brian Mushel.

"I feel more comfortable for the employees. They're not subjected to everybody that comes in that's hacking and may not be feeling just right. It protects them and that's a good thing to protect. These people are the front line in this day and age," Tom Dubas said.

Since the whole idea is to protect both the customers and the employees, it's fitting that the idea headline came from a customer who built it himself.

"One of our customers was in and he said, 'I can make that happen.' He had the lumber, we had the plexiglass, and there it is," Mushel said.

That customer was Sam Mundrake, who owns Carriage Barn Antiques, less than half a mile away from the hardware store.

"I thought it was great, he's staying open and people are going in and it just seemed like a common-sense thing to do," Munrdrake said. "If I knew I was going to get all this attention, we would have made them prettier!"

pretty or not, the screens get the job done.

"It's simple, it's straightforward. You could do it anywhere, for any business. It's not a lot of money and it's just a very easy way to protect somebody."

One customer predicted that protective barriers like these may remain a part of our lives, even after the coronavirus threat is just a part of history.