In this era of COVID-19, etiquette has often taken a back seat to bad manners. Many of us have witnessed an epidemic of disrespect and rudeness related to the precautions we are taking to protect ourselves.
We asked two etiquette experts for advice on handling the uncomfortable situations we have all had to confront: Yvonne Salas, owner of Etiqueta Excellence in Pembroke Pines, and Dannie Fowler, owner of The Etiquette School of Florida in Orlando. Here are their guidelines for dealing with friends, family and strangers with firmness but also kindness.
Q. A stranger asked me why I was wearing a mask outdoors. What should I have told her?
A. This is what Salas calls “a nosy question.” She said your reply should follow an evasive route such as ”I have personal reasons” or “It makes me feel secure” and leave it at that.
“You do not need to provide details, such as a family member has cancer and therefore, I need to be extra cautious,” she said.
Q. What is the best way to ask people entering my house if they are vaccinated?
A. Decide on your house rules beforehand and stick with them, Fowler said.
“Before someone enters your home, you have to decide your comfort level about whether they are vaccinated or not,” she said. “It is your home and your health you are concerned with.”
The key, she said, is to be polite.
“It comes down to how you ask,” she said. “Remember to never come across in an accusatory tone. Be gracious in your asking.”