The coronavirus pandemic has brought new levels of stress and uncertainty
to everyone’s lives: from worrying about getting sick, to stressing
about finances or job security to just being stuck at home. As restrictions
begin to loosen and people start getting out and about more, you’ll
encounter people with varying ideas of safety and adherence to new precautions.
But how do you handle those who may not be on the same page as you are?
The “what to do” and “why to do it” has changed
a lot over the past couple of months, and for some, that can be confusing.
For example, the CDC first recommended that only sick people and those
caring for them wear masks. Then, as it became clearer that people could
spread the disease without showing symptoms, the CDC recommended everyone
People are more likely to adopt a new behavior when they know better, understand
why and see other people like themselves also doing it, but the truth
is that old habits die hard. While handshakes, holding the door and small
talk in public may feel like a thing of the past, you’ll probably
find yourself in a situation where someone is getting too close for comfort.
Here are some tips on how to handle it:
- Be friendly, pleasant and nonthreatening. Try something like, “I’m
sorry. I’m trying to maintain the six-foot distance. Do you mind
giving me a little more space, please?”
- Take advantage of the visual cues many businesses have implemented, like
tape or signs on the floor that show customers how to line up at a proper distance.
- If you’re not as comfortable asserting yourself, try the “borrow
authority” method: “Oh, I think we’re supposed to be
staying six feet apart, if you wouldn’t mind backing up a little
- If there’s no better way, you can be the one to physically move yourself,
even if you feel you have the right of way. Safety first!
- If you’re picking up a to-go order or waiting in line at the pharmacy,
it’s ok to ask someone to wear a mask. You can simply say something
like “Can you please put a mask on before I come any closer? Thank
We are social creatures, and social distancing comes easier for some people
more than others. Try to give others the benefit of the doubt; they may
just need a friendly reminder. We all have a lot on our minds right now,
and it’s possible they just aren’t paying attention to where