Roles of floor graphics in social distancing in retail environment

Public health officials recommend keeping a distance of six feet between people, or around two metres, to reduce people’s chances of spreading the COVID-19. People have devised various ways to demarcate the prescribed social distancing norm in the retail environment using chalk, paints and other crafty means. However, nothing can be as effective as printed floor graphics using nowadays increasingly to guide shoppers around a retail space safely.

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During the lockdown period, reminding people to keep their distance, often acting as a visual barrier, floor graphics play vital roles in maintaining a safe but efficient flow of shoppers at supermarkets, departmental stores and local kirana shops where crowds of people line up for essential items. Signage players are now torchbearers who provide COVID-19 social distancing floor graphics available in different sizes and designs.

Floor graphics are applicable directly to floors of all types—asphalt, cemented, ceramic, wood and many others. Wide varieties of floor graphics are available on diverse themes and designs at affordable prices. However, to ensure the graphics are appropriate for their setting, retail players must invest in the right products. When public safety is a priority, only those products designed specifically for the application should be used. It means that the floor graphics should be well tested and rated for slip resistance. The test standards used to measure slip resistance vary across different geographical regions and even within the same country.

Fire ratings are also applicable to any floor graphic. Sign makers should ensure that all products they use in making floor graphics have achieved a sufficient fire safety certification. It’s the duty of the manufacturers or suppliers to clarify the standards of both the slip rating and fire rating, by choosing the right media or material for the specific application in a retail environment.

Yet another reason why floor graphic makers should choose for a premium media is to avoid a trip hazard. Floor graphics in a retail space is developed to adhere securely to most typical floor surfaces. But again, it is mandatory to check the intended setting, without tearing or curling at the edges. The graphics must be engineered to withstand heavy foot traffic, high-heeled shoes and machinery without being damaged. In addition, they should also be easily removable and washable without leaving sticky residue, which itself could pose a tripping risk.

Social distancing floor graphics should be kept neat and clean, particularly when they display directional information. Even prints should withstand cleaning chemicals or water as well as potential fading from UV light. This is why every floor graphic should be checked whether the inks used in printing it are compatible with cleaning chemical solutions. Most of the quality floor graphic films are designed for vibrant, long-lasting results compatible with all major digital printing technologies.

There are a handful of manufacturers of popular high-quality floor mounting products, viz. Mactac, 3M, Avery Dennison, Arlon, among others. The floor graphic products from these companies are designed to help sign makers execute permanent assembly applications with confidence. There are wide varieties of materials available for durable and mop-friendly anti-slip floor signs which can be permanently stick to all types of clean, smooth, even and non-porous surfaces, whether indoor or outdoor applications. Some floor graphics are designed for temporary applications and many are for 6 month durability and above.

Sign makers and PSPs are now free to think over designs and sizes of a gamut of floor graphics as per the requirement in different retail arenas. Among the popular floor graphics is the 20-inch-diameter personal spacing disc which features an exclusive adhesive coating that keeps it in place when used on tile and other hard floor.

The floor graphics in the retail environments are not merely made for instructing shoppers where to stand to maintain the six feet distance to get rid of person to person transmission of COVID-19. The innovative signs are meant to provide a visual guide towards awareness of the dreaded viral pandemic and responsibilities through inspiring words and slogans, such as Thank You for Practicing Social Distancing; Stop the Spread! Practice Social Practicing; Please Stay Six Feet Apart; Maintain Distance—I Protect You, You Protect Me… Even the graphics are available in variety of designs, with options to add custom graphics of any retrial brand.

Had it not been for this key role of floor graphics, social distancing in the retail environment would have never maintained the way it is today. But the role is expected to be bigger when the lockdown period is over. That’s why signage players must roll up their sleeves now to meet the increasing demands for COVID-19 floor graphic signs at malls, retail stores, local kirana shops and also many others including banks, mobile phone shops, car showrooms, hospitals… it means almost everywhere!