Etiquette is always evolving; and the novel coronavirus has been rewriting the rules of etiquette at warp speed. The old, polite gestures – handshake, toast of glasses and kiss on the cheek – have gone on hold. Although restrictions have started to dissolve with increasing number of vaccinated people, yet the looming risk of vaccine effectiveness against the new variants cannot be completely subdued. So, how should we be behaving at in-person events post COVID-19?
Change your greeting style
Did you know that COVID-19 has revived some centuries old greetings?
With social distancing lingering, handshakes and hugs have been killed. But, excitingly, distinct and better ways of greeting have come up to fit the new normal. Recently, social media was flooded with the “Wuhan shake”, “Turkish Eyvallah”, “Indian Namaste” and “Tanzanian Footshake”.
So, next time you go to an event, try one of these safer new trends of showing respect to one another. You could even exchange a verbal “Hello” with a friendly smile, or just a thumbs-up, head nod or a mock salute.
Wear your mask correctly and consistently
Even though people around you are fully vaccinated, you still need to be a little careful. Wear your mask correctly and throughout the event.
If you are seated at a table and a server approaches, lift your mask to cover your nose and mouth. Also, never place your mask on the table; there is a high chance of the mask picking up or transferring germs.
If you encounter someone not wearing a mask or wearing one incorrectly, ask them in a polite manner to wear one. May be you could even offer one saying you have an extra piece.
Ask! Ask! Ask!
You wouldn’t want to offend any guest at the event with your mannerism, would you? So, it’s better to clearly ask certain questions to a guest who may be affected by your action. Let’s see what you should ask.
Do you mind me taking my mask off?
Is it fine if I sit next to you?
Where should I keep this gift box?
Maintain Physical Distancing
Several communities have started opening up; state governments have begun relaxing the physical distancing norms. But, it is still your responsibility at events to take care of your own health as well as of others. This is why you should continue not to gather or queue up around (especially in the walkways and restrooms). Small gatherings could be acceptable, though at certain corners (but with your masks on).
Get Ready for ‘No Buffet’ Food
Hands to spoons to hands – wouldn’t that be so quick? This is why buffets at events may no longer be on the menu. No one would want to share spoons or queue up with the never-ending line of hungry guests in this time. Buffet isn’t a problem, but closer proximity is. So, at least until things get back to the pre-corona days, everything shall be served individually. Be prepared for this new eating style!
Bye! Bye! Birthday Candles
Does the cake-cutting sound empty without blowing off a candle? Even if it does, who would want to eat a cake that could have been contaminated because of that one customary “phooo”? Be a little concerned and cautious, and let your guests enjoy your cake safely. Skip the candles, simply make a wish and relish the cake with everyone.
Adhere to the Key Prevention Strategies while Planning your Event
If you are hosting an event, make sure your event planner is following all the key strategies to prevent the spread of the virus. This would involve setting top-level hygiene standards in place, installing physical barriers to prevent crowding, setting the stage 6-feet away from the audience space, taking care of ventilation (particularly in indoor spaces), creating separate entry and exit, conducting frequent cleaning etc.
Pretty cool, isn’t it!? The post COVID etiquette is the new ‘cool’. It is important for you and others to abide by such implicit and explicit norms. And, if you are still missing the good old days, don’t worry we will eventually go back to the long-standing rituals, habits and of course handshakes. But, for now, enjoy the new etiquette!