Many businesses installing barriers to stop spread of coronavirus

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) If you've been into a grocery or convenience store lately, you might have noticed something different at the counter.

Plexiglass or sneezeguards are popping up all over the region to protect both employees and customers from spreading the coronavirus.

At Simon's, a chain of 20 convenience stores mostly in Northern Vermont, they have installed plexiglass in their stores. Operations Manager Todd Pratt says these safety measures weren't even a thought two months ago.

There have been some issues. The biggest complaint is not being able to hear through the glass. But Pratt says they plan to leave them up as a precaution even when COVID-19 numbers start to decline.

"A pandemic of this scale was never a thought process. We try to have a plan in place for everything, we didn't have a plan like this. There isn't a rulebook for us, how do you deal with this," Pratt said.

"We're getting phone calls from other stores that aren't open yet, preparing for when they do open, to have barriers, glass of some sort in there," said Matt McIntyre, who co-owns Acme Glass in Burlington.

McIntyre says banks and retail stores are preparing for when the governor allows them to reopen by installing sneezeguards.

McIntyre was able to bring back three employees he laid off when the stay-at-home order took effect.

But he says installing sneezeguards won't make up for the overall loss in revenue. Most of their work involves going into people's homes to replace windows and shower doors.