Partition Guidance

Fixed partitions, sometimes referred to as sneeze guards, are an option to be considered to help prevent the droplet spread between individuals from a sneeze or cough. They are typically installed at point-of-service locations where there is frequent contact in public spaces and social distancing cannot be maintained. These barriers are supplemental protection to the recommendations for frequent handwashing, social distancing, use of a face covering, and self-screening.

Do You Need a Partition?

The decision to purchase a partition depends upon the configuration of the workspace, the frequency of personal contact and type of transaction within the space. Partitions are not necessary in workspaces that accommodate social distancing between people or if interaction is infrequent and not prolonged or if PPE such as face shields and face coverings are to be used. A decision checklist is included with this instruction to help inform these decisions. Contact Health, Safety, and Risk Management if you have questions.

Fire Code Compliance

Floor-to-ceiling partitions will be considered managed projects and will require expert services to ensure compliance with fire codes.

  • The top edge of a tall barrier must be clear from the bottom of fire sprinkler deflectors by 18 inches or 15 percent of ceiling height, whichever is greater.
  • Barriers must not interfere with fire protection devices or with room ventilation.
  • The amount of rigid plastic partitions in the space should not exceed 10 percent of total wall area in the space for non-sprinklered buildings.
  • For sprinkler-protected buildings, the amount of rigid plastic in the partitions must not exceed 20 percent of wall area.
  • Barriers or partitions must not obstruct a means of egress, including aisles, aisle accessways, exit access doorways, or exits.

Tips for Partition Placement and Traffic Control

  • Determine traffic flow and direct traffic using bollards, belt railings, or floor markings to establish direction and promote social distance.
  • Determine the location where staff interact with customers such as a cash register, computer keyboard and monitor, or at a service counter or information desk. Card readers may be placed outside the barrier.
  • Fix the partition as close to the customer’s edge of the counter as practically possible. Allow room for transactions either at the side in a designated landing spot, or through a pass through if side transactions are not possible.
  •  Align several partitions together for longer counters.
  • Use Command Strips to fasten the barrier. They can be removed without damage to the furniture.

Cleaning the Partition

  • Materials of construction are important. The partition will require frequent cleaning. Soap and water and hydrogen peroxide-based cleaners are compatible with plexiglass, but alcohols are not.
  • Establish a routine cleaning schedule. Commonly touched items are:
    • Contact surfaces
    • Point-of-purchase
    • Credit card readers should be disinfected frequently. Use the manufacturers recommendations for allowable disinfectants and contact time.

Purchase the Partition

Partitions may be requested through Facilities Management at (612)-624-2900 or [email protected].

Departments are responsible for the cost of the partition. Provide an EFS account to charge at the time the request is placed.


If you have questions, contact your campus HSRM representatives:

Twin Cities

HSRM Main Office
Phone: 612-626-6002
Email: [email protected]


Duluth EHSO
Phone: 218-726-7139


Kim Jenkins
Phone: 218-281-8300
Email: [email protected] 


Amanda Hyett-Riggenberg
Phone: 320-589-6106
Email: [email protected]


Use of partitions are suggested by OSHA, AIHA and in NSF/ANSI publications: