While some businesses have been forced to slow down or completely close down during the pandemic, there’s one plastics company in West LA that is busier than ever.
Solter Plastics, which has been in business on Pico Boulevard for 50 years, keeps busy “making sneeze guards for all types of businesses from retail shops to mom-and-pop shops,” Keon Khatibi, one of the shop’s business partners, said.
While Khatibi said they made “anything from display boxes to table tops,” demand for those items plummeted when the pandemic hit, while orders for plastic barriers skyrocketed.
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Prior to the pandemic, they didn’t make any plastic barriers. Now, they account for 98 percent of their business.
“It’s the food industry, it’s medical staff, basically anywhere that you as a consumer would walk in, that’s who we’re getting calls from,” Khatibi said.
One customer, for instance, picked up plastic shields to install in between cubicles at an office building.
But while business is booming for plastic companies, health experts warn these barriers are only part of the safety solution.
“I could get droplets or I could sneeze and that could go on the barrier. If the next person that comes on touches the wall and then somehow puts it on their face or in their mouth, they can get infected, too,” Dr. Asbasia Mikhail, an emergency medicines physician at Exer Urgent Care and Huntington Hospital, said.
“You have to protect yourself. You have to make sure you wash your hands, don’t touch your face,” she said.
Since viruses can remain on plastic for up to 72 hours, barriers must be cleaned constantly, just like any work space.
Back at Solter Plastics, the demand for plastic barriers isn't letting up as more businesses plan for opening up.