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Post-Confinement Etiquette

BWB gets acquainted with the new etiquette of life during and after COVID-19.

Slowly but surely, the world around us is gently coming out of its quarantine slumber. The air is warmer, the trees are greener, and people are more often braving the outdoors. But the return to normalcy will be a long and gradual process, with new social habits enforcing post-confinement etiquette. Now, we have a new lens and a new responsibility to return to public spaces with newfound compassion and respect. We have obligations not only to our own health, but also to the community around us. Here is BWB’s new, unspoken etiquette for five primary facets of our day-to-day lives.

Public Transportation

  • If you’re leaving the house, a mask is necessary. You can lower your mask if no one is around you to breathe more easily.
  • Keep hand sanitizer readily available to apply before and after boarding trains, riding Citi Bikes, or taking a taxi.
  • Allow extra travel time in case trains are overcrowded. Wait for the next train in order to have more distance between yourself and others.

Office

  • Upon arrival, wash your hands thoroughly with soap before doing anything else. This is for yourself, but also to reassure your coworkers that their well-being is important to you.
  • If you have an in-person meeting, shaking hands is no longer appropriate.
  • Always have alcohol wipes nearby to wipe down frequently touched surfaces. We’re talking keyboards, computer mouses, printer screens, counters, etc.!
  • If you need to sneeze or cough, wash your hands afterwards as another mark of respect for your coworkers.

Exercise

  • If you are using any gym equipment, you should diligently wipe it down with alcohol wipes before and after using it. Most gyms will have these available, but you can always bring your own!
  • It may not be pleasant to wear a mask while doing cardio like jogging or cycling, but this is when it is even more crucial to cover up your mouth for everyone’s safety.
  • Now is the time to invest in your own equipment instead of using communal ones offered by a studio. Think: yoga mat, boxing gloves, cycling shoes, etc.

Social Events

  • If you are ready to be in public spaces again with strangers, get that mask on and keep it on as much as you can.
  • Be mindful of those who are still anxious about people walking or standing too close to them. Maintain the 6-feet apart rule.
  • Try to pay with card whenever possible to avoid touching cash.
  • Keep refraining from extending your hand when making friends! Go with an elbow or ankle bump instead.

Home

  • Like arriving at the office, it is always best to wash your hands as soon as you get home.
  • Get to wiping those knobs — along with your refrigerator, cabinets, kitchen table and counters.
  • Consider changing your clothes and taking a shower immediately after getting home, especially if you have just taken public transport.
  • Keep up with scrubbing your produce thoroughly. These are constantly being touched by other people at the grocery stores and farmer’s markets. Additionally, consider peeling off the skin to be extra cautious.
  • If you want to have friends over and you live with other people, make sure you run it by them first. Some people may not be comfortable with inviting other people into their homes yet.

Whether you’re itching to dine at a restaurant again or postponing trips to the movies indefinitely, we have to start thinking about the big picture. Quarantine or no quarantine, every action we take moving forward will have repercussions on public health. It’s going to require a collective effort from everyone, so let’s get acquainted with the new etiquette of life during and after COVID-19.

Feature Image Credit: Steven Shaffer

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