'Safety is going to come first': COVID-19 will change how we interact with others, etiquette expert says
VANCOUVER -- There's no question COVID-19 has brought many changes and one etiquette expert says how people interact with others is no exception.
Even as restrictions eventually lift, individuals will still need to consider how comfortable others are, Sharon Schweitzer told CTV Morning Live Thursday.
"Safety is going to come first and safety is going to trump over etiquette and manners," she said. "I think the best thing we can do is resist any impulse to try to shake hands. What we're going to want to do is ask people what their comfort level is."
Schweitzer said perhaps waving or "virtual" handshakes or hugs will be the new greeting.
When it comes to socializing in general, Schweitzer said safety is also key, especially while restrictions are still in place.
"What you may want to do is say, 'My family and I or my colleagues and I are limiting our interactions … thank you so much for your invitation but I would love to do a virtual gathering with you,'" she said.
Or, for those outdoor in-person meetings, it's OK to confirm people will be wearing a mask or keeping a physical distance.
And, for people going on dates, significant changes have already been happening.
"Dating online has definitely changed. People are asking a lot of questions online first," Schweitzer said.
"They are confirming that people are going to wear a mask, bring a mask and many singles say they're packing extra masks when they go on a date."
Schweitzer said it's not uncommon for people to meet over video first, adding that many dates are happening at parks or on walks.
When workplaces start bringing employees back into offices, Schweitzer said it's important everyone reads the health and safety guidelines.
"Your organization is going to have given this a lot of thought," she said. "Follow that guideline. That's going to be really crucial."
Schweitzer's comments were part of a four-minute interview on CTV Morning Live. Watch the full interview in the video player above.