COVID-19 Office Protocol: Green Means Hug Me, Blue Means EW, GROSS


Maybe you have returned to an office setting or will soon. This is a carefree experience not at all marred by the fact that the U.S. is setting daily COVID-19 records left and right. Where I live in Florida, state leaders say pandemic precautions are totes optional for loo-hoo-sers only, so it's whatever.

Still, guidance for how to act at work is in order. It can be awkward to hold up garlic and a crucifix to people with whom you once shared amiable desk salads.

What to do? The internet was a-Twitter this week after The New York Times reported certain organizations have started using color-coded wristbands or pins to alert colleagues how to proceed in greeting each other. This clears up the question, "Should I softly embrace Roger near the printer?" which most of us have stayed up late wondering.

We don't need to stop at hugs and handshakes. Here is a system that covers much more ground. Feel free to pin it up around your workplace.

Green: Open to hugs.

Yellow: Elbow tap or fist bump.


Red: Wave.

Coral: Wave, but farther away.

Tangerine: Wave, but, like, from your house. Yeah, that's good.

Lilac: Spirited high five and freeze-frame photo while jumping in the air.


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Cathy The Other Coast Mike Lester Marvin Pat Byrnes John Darkow