Long-term social distancing: Could barriers become a ‘new normal’?


The UK is beginning to re-open as the strict lockdown measures that were imposed on the country for several months are slowly being lifted. Assuming the government keeps the schedule of its planned ‘roadmap’ out of Covid measures, the whole of the country will be without any kind of lockdown or safety restrictions by 21 June 2021.

However, it might not be quite as simple as that. No-one truly knows yet whether the vaccination programme will have been successful enough to avoid a massive spike in infections. If the government was to see the NHS getting overwhelmed it could conceivably look to put further restrictions in place.

At this stage, it is simply impossible to predict. Some experts have even said that Covid-19 countermeasures such as face masks and, crucially, social distancing, could last for a number of years. So, this may mean that we could expect some aspects of coronavirus-related living to have to continue.

The role of barriers in social distancing

There can be no doubt that barriers and other physical dividers can play a vital role in keeping people safe in the era of Covid-19. At events or even simply in crowded public areas, having segmented areas and one-way systems can be an important way to minimise the risk of Covid-19 spreading, even when other restrictions have been removed.

Given the risk is likely to be at its highest at large events or anywhere that multiple people are using the same physical space, these kinds of devices could remain as an important anti-coronavirus measure for a long time.

We can expect barriers and fencing to be used everywhere from festivals and large concerts, to potentially even pedestrianised town centres and shopping malls. Businesses may find that there is legislation around using barriers in commercial environments.

For example, some restaurants may not be able to utilise outside seated areas without a perimeter barrier in place.

How barriers have been deployed

Barriers are a multifunctional tool in helping manage crowds. They play a strong role specifying areas and ensuring that people understand where they need to be. Additionally, they are useful for defining areas such as queues.

More useful than other dividing systems such as chains and ropes, or even simple lines on the floor – barriers provide meaningful physical distancing. They are easy to see and do not allow for any misunderstandings about where a person is allowed to be.

If your business, event or site is going to need any kind of physical distancing measures in place – either as a part of government restrictions, or simply to keep visitors as safe as possible, it is a great idea to speak with experienced civil engineering professionals.

At Maltaward we have years of experience, providing a wide range of barriers and other physical distancing measures. We would be happy to answer any questions or provide you with a quote for buying or hiring barriers. Contact us today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.