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The #1 Thing Restaurants Need That's Impossible to Find Right Now

Post-lockdown safety guidelines have put a premium on this one critical material.

Restaurants across the nation are hustling to reopen under strict CDC guidelines designed to keep patrons and staffers safe from the coronavirus outbreak. As a result, the demand for one key material appears to be far greater than current demand, and that is the plastic plexiglass protecting shields that are soon to be ubiquitous at shops and eateries alike.

It seems that the acrylic and see-through plastic protective material has been installed at nearly every grocery store check out stand across the country over the past two months. Why? Because medical and public health experts have realized that being in high-trafficked and crowded indoor locations puts people at most risk for the viral overload that leads to the coronavirus. And now that dining establishments and fast food eateries are starting to open up, there is an even greater need for plexiglass. Which has been great for the acrylic plastic provider businesses?

Take for example the owner of Las Vegas company called "The Plastic Man,"  the owners told a local Fox5 reporter that demand was so hight that they'd been getting nonstop calls. "We've been getting 50 calls an hour," said owner Jose Leyva.  Before the pandemic, the company made plastic displays for conventions, casinos, retail stores, booths, and art. In a COVID-19 world, however, the need for plexiglass has skyrocketed.

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Arnaldo Richards is the executive chef and owner of Arnaldo Richards' Picos Restaurant in Houston, and he had plexiglass barriers installed along the bar inside his restaurant.  "Our customers feel comfortable being in this, basically what I would call a plexiglass cubicle," Richards told Insider. The plexiglass installed between customers and bartenders will stay permanently, while the pieces between customers can be removed in the case of a couple of friends coming to dine together.

Richards was wise to get ahead of the rush on plexiglass, as the sharp increase in demand appears to have used up global supplies, according to a report by the BBC.  Restaurant businesses have been decimated by the stay at home guidelines designed to abate the coronavirus pandemic. But the acrylic business? Its booming.


Eat This, Not That! is constantly monitoring the latest food news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed (and answer your most urgent questions). Here are the precautions you should be taking at the grocery store, the foods you should have on hand, the meal delivery services and restaurant chains offering takeout you need to know about, and ways you can help support those in need. We will continue to update these as new information develops. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date.

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