You must be overwhelmed right now; since December 2019, the whole planet has known one word, Covid-19. The pandemic has had a profound and long-term impact on how we work, socialize, celebrate, mourn, and, ultimately, live. Yet, we have all come to adjust to the new normal through it all. One of these shifts is in our behaviour: covid etiquette.
The pandemic developments necessitate an improvement in our set of etiquette, which we must follow to live more safe and courteous lives. Additionally, a new variant of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus named Omicron by the World Health Organization (WHO) is here with us, meaning that the need for Covid etiquettes continues and is as follows.
Covid Etiquette – Coughing
Cough etiquette is a set of practices designed to keep the infection from spreading. These habits are crucial at a time when a once-innocent sniffle can now trigger anxiety and tension.
To prevent the transmission of these germs, The Center for Disease Control and Prevention advises that:
- When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose.
- Use tissues and throw them away.
- If you lack a tissue, sneeze or cough into your elbow rather than your hands.
- If you must contact your lips, nose, or eyes, remember to wash your hands or use a hand sanitizer.
When coughing or sneezing, always turn your face away from the people around you; avoid shaking hands, kissing, and hugging.
You might have heard of this so many countless times, and perhaps you have had enough of it; however, its good to remember that washing your hands is one of the most efficient methods to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy, especially at times when you’re more prone to pick up and spread germs.
In public spaces and healthcare environments such as emergency rooms, doctor’s offices, and clinics, covering coughs and sneezes and washing hands is crucial for infection management.
- With your hands, clean using soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- If soap and water aren’t accessible, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
When combined with the use of a mask (which you should be wearing right now, even if you are fully vaccinated), these precautions can considerably reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading. Learn more on our blog about why cough etiquette is essential and why masks are here to stay.
Covid Etiquette – In the workplace
In response to the pandemic, most employers worldwide have adopted Covid-secure workplace safety protocols based on different government safety norms for offices that are not working remotely.
Nonetheless, you can lead by example in the following ways as recommended by international bodies:
- If you have Covid-19 symptoms, avoid going to the office. Also, notify your boss.
- You should not share food. Avoid having a group or team lunch.
- Do not share personal items such as phone chargers, stationery, and make-up accessories. Unless you have to share an object, make sure to sanitize it first.
- If at all possible, avoid using elevators. If you must, do not enter an already crowded area. To maintain proper physical separation, wait till the number of individuals decreases. Before and after work, sanitize your workspace. After each use, clean the shared areas.
- Maintain a minimum of 6-foot (2-meter) physical separation by following spacing demarcations.
- Wash your hands when you go to work and avoid touching your face or mask as much as possible.
- To the degree possible, limit your movement outside of specified job zones.
- To press buttons, control panels, and other items, keep an object (such as a pen) nearby.
- Consider communication limitations caused by masks, especially for the deaf or those who rely on lip-reading or rather, make hand motions.
If a coworker refuses to comply with the policies in place, try negotiating with them; if you cannot reach an agreement, you have the right to express concerns with the management team, as Covid 19 should be viewed by each individual or organization as a health hazard.
Covid Etiquette – Vaccination
Believe it or not, covid vaccination status has become the new socioeconomic dividing line; hence it requires its etiquette. To begin, get completely vaccinated and be truthful about your immunization status.
Second, if you don’t have confirmed information, don’t get engaged in discussions concerning the efficacy and safety of various Covid-19 vaccinations.
Avoid dialogues that facilitate the spread of misinformation and falsehoods. It’s also a good idea to politely remind folks about the consequences of misinformation.
Finally, don’t brag about a particular vaccine you’ve had by claiming it’s of higher quality than the others. Instead, recognize that all vaccines protect against severe Covid-19 infections.
Boldly, tell a family member who isn’t vaccinated that they won’t attend a family gathering if they aren’t vaccinated. Above all, do not become enraged if you are asked about your vaccination status since we need a pandemic etiquette that is more concerned with preventing the transmission of the disease than with generating a social faux pas.
As a result, let us all work together to create a culture in which it is not only acceptable but also admirable to inquire about people’s immunization statuses and work practices before inviting them over or accepting invites.
Covid Etiquette – While Travelling
During this Covid-19 pandemic, no travel is riskless. Countries may impose further travel restrictions or enact new laws on short notice, such as in response to a new Covid-19 variant like the current Omicron.
Check with your travel provider or airline to see if any changes in transportation could cause you to miss your flight home.
However, a few notable points on Covid etiquette to note before traveling are:
- Additionally, do not forget to wear your mask correctly throughout your journey, and do not forget your immunization certificate/proof. You can also respectfully tell a co-passenger to put on a mask if they are not already wearing one.
- If you don’t like coughing or sneezing into a wet mask, always bring a couple of extra face masks with you on your trip.
- Do not try to obtain unlawful certifications of “completely vaccinated” to travel to locations where vaccination is required.
- If you wish to photograph in public, don’t take off your mask.
- Minimize cash transactions
The more optimistic you are and the more open you are to people striving to make your vacation a success, the more fun you will have. So, on your next trip, travel wisely, respectfully, and restfully, and keep all of these pointers in mind.
Covid Etiquette – Public gatherings
Weddings, funerals, and meetings are just a few of the gatherings that cross our paths from day to day, but how can we have fun and still stay safe?
Here are some tips to limit the risk of Covid-19 transmission if you choose to host or take part in a face-to-face meeting or event with persons outside your household:
- Have the ‘Covid Conversation with your guest before the gathering.
- First, If you have Covid-19 symptoms, don’t go to social gatherings. Before meeting up with friends and relatives, self-isolate for 14 days and notify anyone you may have come into touch with.
- When considering whether or not to host an event, keep the risk level in mind and avoid gathering in tight, cramped, or poorly ventilated areas.
- When organizing significant events and gatherings, encourage healthy habits and maintain healthy environments to prevent risk.
- If someone becomes ill during or after the event, be prepared.
- Do not pressure friends or family members to attend gatherings or festivities. Respect their wishes if they do not feel at ease joining the gathering.
- Attempt to keep the number of guests to a bare minimum while adhering to the government’s Covid-19 requirements. Celebrations that are digital/virtual are excellent and desirable.
- When holding such gatherings, serve your food in a location with adequate separation.
- If you’re hosting or attending a party, keep some additional masks on hand. If you’re the host, make sure there are: visible signage with preventive measures and appropriate handwashing stations and sanitizers at the entrance/exit or other prominent locations.
- Individuals over the age of 60, expectant mothers, and the elderly are all at risk, including those suffering from chronic conditions, all of whom should be advised to avoid social events.
Covid Etiquette – Stigmatization
People have been labeled, stereotyped, discriminated against, treated differently, or even lost status due to Covid stigmatization. For instance: anyone perceived to be from the regions where the virus originated or are considered hot zones, as well as people who were exposed to the infection, recently traveled, and people who have come into contact with someone who has, and even those infected.
The Covid-19 cough has undoubtedly changed how someone is perceived in public.
Stigma has an evident influence on those who are stigmatized, but it can also have a broader impact. It’s worth noting that if having Covid-19 is connected with stigma in today’s era, some people may be hesitant to disclose symptoms, take a test, or enter information into a contact-tracing tool, making it harder for responsible persons to control the virus.
For this reason, it’s essential to play your part in avoiding stigma, and you can also read this guide by UNICEF on addressing and preventing social stigma associated with Covid-19.
Following the holiday season’s activities, everyone is on the lookout for any signs of Covid-19, therefore:
- Follow government standards and self-isolate if you develop a new persistent cough, fever, or changes in taste and smell.
- Coughing does not always mean you have Covid-19 because many viruses can cause a runny nose and a sore throat.
- Before you go to the worst-case scenario, analyze all of your symptoms.
- If you have any concerns regarding Covid-19, consult with your doctor.