Life Advice



COVID-19 etiquette: How to handle awkward vaccine, church and family situations

Lois K. Solomon, South Florida Sun Sentinel on

Published in Dating Advice

“Many COVID guidelines for services of any religion are dictated from their hierarchy and there is very little a local pastor can do,” she said. “Here your personal concern has to be the deciding factor. If you do not feel comfortable attending in person, what you must remember is that your attending a service in a virtual format from your home does not indicate any loss of faith. On the contrary, this should confirm to you that God is in whatever form you believe in, transcends any physical building or gathering and that worship can take place anywhere.”

Q. With the holidays approaching, I’m concerned that several of my family members who are unvaccinated will want to join us at our family gatherings. Is it OK to tell them they are not welcome if they are not vaccinated? Is it OK to make specific rules for them if I decide they can come, like they must stay outside or must maintain a social distance?

A. It’s essential to figure out your priorities for the upcoming holiday season and make it clear at the outset what the rules of your house will be this year, Fowler said.

“You have to decide what your comfort level is with the exposure. If you are uncomfortable with them attending, your option is to let them know how you are feeling about the situation,” she said. “Let them know what the rules will be for your home and ask if they are OK with that. Make sure you let them know how much you want to have them there and are excited to have everyone together. Also, let them know you are concerned about everyone’s safety. Let them know you hope they understand. If they refuse the mask rule, then it’s up to you to decide any other parameters.”

The key is to be civil and aware that you are communicating with people you love during a difficult time, she said.


“Never make your response a personal attack on another’s beliefs concerning the virus,” she said. “We each have made our own decisions about our health. Thank the other person if an invitation is extended. Focus on the positive and make plans for a future date if possible.”


Have a question about etiquette during COVID-19? Email Lois Solomon at


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