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Protective barriers installed at Willmar Post Office

Cough and sneeze barriers were installed at the Willmar Post Office to protect employees and customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Customer David Smith speaks to a post office employee through a plexiglass shield that was installed to protect employees and customers during the COVID-19 pandemic Tuesday at the Willmar Post Office. Erica Dischino / West Central Tribune

WILLMAR — Many essential businesses and organizations across the state have been installing shields that create a physical barrier between employees and customers at their service counters as a form of protection throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The Willmar Post Office recently installed its own barriers to help slow the spread of the virus.

According to a COVID-19 statement published April 2 from the United States Postal Service, the “cough/sneeze” barriers were brought into post offices across the U.S. to ensure that contact between employees and customers reflects the best guidance regarding healthy interactions.

Post Office employee Stacey Tostenson said that the barriers would even be great for a typical cold and flu season too.

"They have definitely made me people feel comfortable when entering the building," she said. "Both employees and customers."

The clear, plastic barriers have been installed at various businesses still serving the public during the pandemic, from grocery stores to liquor stores.

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Erica Dischino is a photojournalist for the West Central Tribune and Forum News Service. She grew up in northern New Jersey and has lived in the Midwest since 2017. She enjoys photographing the stories of west central Minnesota from county fairs, parades and pandemics. Feel free to contact her at edischino@wctrib.com or 320-894-8865 with your best photo ideas.
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