Etiquette during Covid (Part 1)
Today we have a topic that is timely and important. So important that we are breaking it up in to a two part blog post.
Whether it's family, friends or strangers, how do we handle other people's behaviour during Covid-19? How do we navigate the delicate line between being social and being selfish. And more importantly, how to address those we see that are struggling between the two. Lisa Orr is an etiquette consultant and we asked her how she has been navigating the sometimes perilous new Covid etiquette reality.
--Covid-19 has had such an impact on our lives but I think one of the more challenging ones is that not everyone shares the same view of that impact and what precautions we should be taking. Like every pandemic in history there are those who are conscientious and follow the public health guidelines and those who embrace the risk or deny the disease exists and refuse to take it seriously. That creates a new world of social dilemmas, but the good news is there are some simple ways to tackle them.--Lisa Orr, Etiquette Consultant
1. So Lisa, with the holiday season coming up, what's the best way to politely say no to family members who still want to do larger family events?
The first step is to try to chat over the phone rather than sending an email or text because it’s harder to be rude or confrontational when you can hear someone’s voice. Next give them the benefit of the doubt and say, “I’m sure you didn’t know but large in-person family events are off this year because of the pandemic but we’d love to celebrate with you virtually?”. If they insist because it’s a hoax/not a big deal/rules don’t apply to them, you can explain, “I understand your position, but I’m just not comfortable attending that kind of gathering so if virtual doesn’t work hopefully we can connect another time”.
2. At school drop-off and pick-up, I see a lot of parents who aren't wearing their masks properly. Should I just ignore or say something?
This one is tough because everyone has different comfort/education levels on the use of masks outdoors, but obviously the more we wear masks the safer we’ll be. My solution is to model the behaviour I want to see so I always wear my mask and keep my distance, but I’ll still wave and say hello. Then they can see you can socialize and pick up your kids while keeping others safe. If you do feel like it’s a safety concern, let the school know, and they may be able to ask parents to attend pick up wearing masks more effectively.
3. Should you say something to friends who don't really follow public health guidelines? For example, those who are still inviting others to their houses and not thinking this is a big deal.
This may be my biggest frustration of the pandemic and I’ve definitely lost respect for people who behave this way and frankly lost friendships because of this kind of behaviour. My first step is always to get facts because sometimes things aren’t as they appear. So I’ll say something like, I heard you had some friends over that must have been nice to have a visit, it’s tough to manage all the new Covid restrictions. If they answer with a conscientious explanation about how they hosted the event following the rules (e.g. with distancing, masks, appropriate numbers, while it was allowed) then there’s no issue. However, if they make it clear they don’t care and that the rules don’t apply to them and that they think you’re ridiculous for caring then leave it, but I would keep your distance from them for a while. People who are reckless with other people’s lives and livelihoods aren’t usually on the top of my friend list.
Very helpful answers Lisa! And we have even more Covid related etiquette questions and answers with Lisa coming up soon in Part 2 of our Etiquette during Covid blog.
Stay safe...wear a mask...with a filter!