Demand for products such as sneeze guards and partitions has increased exponentially amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with many companies opting for acrylic glass, commonly referred to as plexiglass, due to its transparency and durability. This increased demand has caused orders to be backed up across the country.
David Walwer, owner of Virginia Auto Glass in Petersburg, Va., says current lead times are approximately one month, though oftentimes he is put on a waiting list and the product is available sooner. According to Walwer, the plexiglass shortage began two months ago due to an increase in overall demand as well as an increase in large orders from entities such as schools and restaurants.
While some chose to wait for the plexiglass to be available, some have chosen to implement alternate products. This was the case for Petersburg City Public Schools, which opted to use polycarbonate, which Walwer describes as thinner than acrylic.
“People interested in plexiglass need to be patient and plan ahead,” he said.
Charles Witherington, director of purchasing for Binswanger Glass, has also noticed a shortage in available product.
“Supplies of both acrylic and polycarbonate are very limited and have been for a few months. However, with Binswanger’s broad network of suppliers and willingness to source product from anywhere in the U.S., we have been able to find all the product needed for every quote/job that has come our way,” he said. “That’s the advantage of being a large company. We also have large credit lines with our vendors so we can order large quantities without financial restraint.”