• Susie Wilson

Masks and manners: your essential etiquette tips for a polite and polished pandemic 😷

Masks and manners: your essential etiquette tips for a polite and polished pandemic 😷

Personal greetings have changed, but which is the correct one?

When interacting with people in real life, especially those working in stores, make eye contact, ask how they are doing and say “please” and “thank you” to show you acknowledge the stress they might be under.

From elbow or ankle taps to “namaste” hands, we’ve seen many suggestions on how to adapt our greetings. What would you recommend?

To me, there is no one correct way. Etiquette varies from country to country. However, I find a little wave and a nod or slight bow and a short greeting like good morning or good afternoon is always respectful. In what situations might it be still acceptable to exchange hugs? It is a hard one, for in some cultures hugging and kissing is their way of showing love.

Personally, I think this should be reserved for meeting close family in a home setting, like for children and grandparents for example. But ultimately, I always say use your judgment.

How should we react to someone coughing, sneezing or not observing social distancing in public, particularly when our first instinct may be to run away in horror? Although our first instinct might be to run away or to tell them off, it is not our place. As long as the person is wearing a mask there is not much we can do, apart from walking away or keeping a distance from them.

However, if the person is not, you can let them know kindly but firmly to please wear their masks or to keep a distance. If someone, for example, is standing too close to me (coughing or not), I may say, politely but firmly, “Excuse me, do you mind stepping back please”. Avoid saying “sorry”, which is often used interchangeably with “excuse me” but shouldn’t be because it is actually an apology. Also, use “please” and say “thank you” when they comply. There is no need to be haughty about it, and never use a hand gesture to motion, someone, to back off.

If they still don’t move, alert someone who works in the location to intervene and leave it at that, knowing that you have done the right thing.

Is it frivolous in these times to be concerned about fashion and beauty? The way you present yourself is one of the key components of etiquette, and looking put together is just as important now as it ever was, possibly even more. If you look good, you will feel good about yourself, and that is important when so many people are feeling down, given all that’s going on in the world. Even if you are not leaving the house, getting out of your PJs or home clothes every now and then is re-energising and can put you in a more productive mindset

Given the importance of eye contact, this is a great time to invest in pretty eye make-up palettes. Another invaluable consideration during this time is skincare. Wearing masks causes excessive sweat and moisture to build up around the cheeks, leading to breakouts, irritation and damaged skin. I have found that cleansing my face immediately after removing the mask for the day really helps.

Susie Wilson

International Etiquette Expert


Susie Wilson Finishing


#masks #etiquette #covid19 #supporteachother