With governments recommending, sometimes even enforcing, social distancing, it’s time to consider not only the techniques but also the etiquette involved.
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Another week has passed and COVID-19 is still with us. There are some that think the situation is overwhelming while others think we’ve put too much credence into the severity of what is simply yet another virus. But regardless of where you stand, we are now practicing social distancing and self-isolation to prevent further disbursement. COVID-19 is highly contagious and the number of cases and countries involved make it a pandemic regardless of the severity of symptoms.
With governments recommending, sometimes even enforcing, social distancing, it’s time to consider not only the techniques but also the etiquette involved. Everyone talks about it, some jokingly while others are dead serious. But what are the best practices and how do you establish your personal space?
The idea is simply to slow the spread of the virus by avoiding close contact. Businesses and government are taking the initiative by canceling mass gatherings and recommending ways for us to continue with some semblance of normalcy while maintaining a space between us at different venues. Individually most people (even the huggers in our society) are learning to greet one another without the traditional handshake, hug, or kiss on the cheek. We’ve seen a number of people convert to the elbow bump, but that does not incorporate the recommended 6-foot spacing recommended by health officials.
We can still be civil with head nods, waves, even a simple smile. There are those who are in serious need of the distance provided. The elderly and immune suppressed are particularly susceptible. Those who care for the frail among us are also concerned. Not because it will harm them, but because they may pass it along to their loved ones.
I align with the group who is not particularly afraid of COVID-19. But while I will accept a handshake from most anyone, I try to be aware of those who are subtly attempting to maintain their distance from everyone. I don’t force my friendly manner on anyone these days. One of the scariest things about this particular crisis is that it doesn’t give us the opportunity to unite. In the past we’ve been able to lean on each other. Now we are isolated even in public.
For the sake of those who are afraid, give them their space. You’ll know by their demeanor. We’ve become accustomed to washing our hands, etiquette tells us in these times we should also keep them in our pockets.