Pivoting Innovation with Room Shields by Polar Shades

Pivoting Innovation with Room Shields by Polar ShadesNevada company introduces ViruShield as one PPE solution for F&B.

By Debbie Hall

Photos by Erik Kabik

Polar Shades, based in Henderson, Nevada, has pivoted from manufacturing interior and exterior window shades to include manufacturing the ViruShield product as one PPE solution for COVID-19. Along with masks and gowns for the hospitality industry (along with uses in other industries, schools, and businesses), ViruShield was developed to create a cost-effective, larger floor-to-ceiling partition.

As the food and beverage industry tries to conform to one set of standards, new regulations are placed in response to the effects of COVID-19. While creativity and innovation have sparked ways to maintain safety for staff and guests, new solutions offer greater coverage as well as versatility.

“When the pandemic hit in March, I would watch New York Gov. [Andrew] Cuomo pleading for the public sector to help with masks and other protective gear,” explains Steve Mevius, president of Polar Shades. “One day, when I went to my office, I spoke about the situation with my oldest daughter, who works for me. While at the time, Nevada was not experiencing the same outbreak as in New York, with the equipment and machinery we have at our plant, I wanted to pivot and start manufacturing PPE products. My daughter then reached out to officials in New York to offer PPE products.”

However, there were New York state regulations, and it was suggested that Polar Shades offer those products in Nevada. Steve’s daughter, a rodeo queen, posted the offer of PPE products on social media, and the response was overwhelming.

“The city of Henderson and fire department officials [representing cities in Southern Nevada] came to the plant bringing one of their PPE gowns to see what we could do. We took the gown, created a drawing for manufacturing purposes, and made a prototype,” he says.

Polar Shades started manufacturing PPE products and has produced close to 600,000 gowns, and over 600,000 surgical masks for those in Nevada. The gowns out-perform the standards set up by the medical supply companies and fire departments.

“We are striving to do even better each day working 24/7, increasing our staff to provide PPE that is desperately needed,” says Steve. “This is in addition to our core business of window coverings.”

Hotels, restaurants, and hospitality venues use ViruShield, masks, and gowns as a safe, clean way for food prep, such as seafood breakdown or butchery. The gowns are made of clear plastic and can be written on with a dry erase marker to include a name, department, and date for single use.

Pivoting Innovation with Room Shields by Polar ShadesIts cost-effective plexiglass partitions provide more floor-to-ceiling coverage and can be customized to fit each space indoors and outdoors, including patios. The shield is made of vinyl, is retractable, and can easily be wiped down to disinfect it. When the restaurant, dining room, or other hospitality space needs the partition, it can be manually or automatically brought down to separate any area. The advantage is that the partition is not static, and space can be opened up to fit any need.

Orders can be manufactured, delivered, and serviced nationally.

The family-owned business, opened in 1995 by Las Vegas native Steve, combines window-covering solutions with a streamlined installment team. It began in 1994 when Steve purchased a new home. His rooms would get very hot, and he was unable to get them cooled off. While speaking with his neighbor about his problem, the neighbor showed Steve the shades that had been installed that were very effective in keeping rooms cool. However, the cost stopped Steve, so he decided to create his own screens and window coverings. It developed from a hobby to help his friends and neighbors to a side business. In 2000, Steve created a little shop while working full time elsewhere but decided to focus on growing the company exclusively in 2003. For more info about Polar Shades and its COVID-19 efforts, visit polarshade.com.