Australia, England & Wales, Global, Ireland, Scotland Covid-19

Etiquette in the time of corona


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In the UK, we’re allowed out once a day for exercise. Thank goodness. I’m particularly prone to cabin fever, so I love my daily outing. We’re calling it our Boris bike ride or Johnson jaunt. If you’re a bit quicker of foot, maybe you’ve been going on a Johnson jog.

Our household has been observing lock down for a couple of weeks under these rules. So when we’ve been out and and about we were angered by the folks who were in groups that didn’t look like they were part of the same household standing and socialising just a little bit too close.

Since Monday evening’s lock down announcement, I’ve seen a lot less of that. But I understand that it’s still going on in some places.  A lot of councils have been shutting down parks where social distancing isn’t as distant as it should be.


And some councils outside London have shut car parks where there is concern that social distancing isn’t possible at the entrance to countryside parks and gardens. Others have set up standing-too-close tiplines:

But we are still allowed outside. I’ve been on two excursions post lockdown and I’ve been disappointed not just by the physical distance but the – well, social distance. Viruses spread in proximity, but we can still smile, still wave and still create social connection. Instead I see scowls and a lot of people won’t even make eye contact. Folks outside London are reporting more waves and smiles, and a friend of mine in Nashville, Tennessee – a city that is under ‘shelter in place’ rules, says that in her neighbourhood people come out at 6pm every day to socialise – while keeping 6 foot distance.  Speaking to our SGS colleagues who partner with us for LGIU Australia, they’re a bit worried about the lack of distance in urban parks, and we’re all worried that if people can’t observe a safe distance that we may not even be allowed our daily jaunts – which have been prohibited in other European countries further ahead on the pandemic curve than we are in England.

LivingStreets a UK Charity for everyday walking has advice for neighbourhood walking safely, but is definitely encouraging people to be social while they do it.


At one Wimbledon pub that I’ve been known to frequent, they’ve always done a great deal of reaching out. We interviewed the landlord Mick Dore about his lunches for the lonely at Christmas for the LGIU Fortnightly podcast and since then they’ve started Meetup Mondays – afternoons in the pub with tea and coffee and creating social connection. Obviously, that’s off for now, but Mick ran his pub quiz online last Monday, so this is a guy who’s all about safe socialising.


Remember, smiling, waving and other forms of social greeting don’t spread the virus, but do spread kindness. And while we can’t shake hands, hug or even get within 6 feet of each other – there are other acceptable greetings. I’ve even heard that finger gun thing is making a comeback.

What’s it like in your area?





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