Mind Your Manners: Courtesy in the time of COVID-19

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Witnessing people fight over toilet paper in a grocery store is disturbing enough, but when I read someone actually tipped a pizza delivery driver with toilet paper, I knew we are not only living in strange times, we are living in CRAZY times.

Life has turned upside down, and many norms are now being challenged by COVID-19. Simple things such as how we tip, and even how we pass fellow humans while walking or hiking our favorite trails.


While many of us are now working from home, it’s important to remember that not everyone has this ability, such as food prep or delivery folks. How do you show them you appreciate all they do?

One way, if you can afford it, is to consider tipping a bit more than you usually do. If you typically tip 15% to 20%, then maybe do 20% to 25%. Many of these workers are hurting, and every little bit helps.

Also, please remember other customer/patient facing workers who cannot work at home, such as mail carriers, delivery drivers, pharmacists, grocery clerks and, above all, doctors, nurses and the good folks who clean the hospitals.

All of these people are risking their health so the rest of us can shelter in place. While tipping these folks is not customary, a heartfelt “thank you” and a smile is the very least you can do.

Speaking of every little bit helps, shout out to the Girl Scouts of Black Diamond Council (full disclosure, I sit on their board). Due to COVID-19, they have had to suspend all cookie booth sales and are now left with cases upon cases of unsold cookies.

If you didn’t know, the money from the sale of cookies helps with service projects, programming and community initiatives. They are asking folks to help buy those extra boxes, and they, in turn, will donate them to area hospital workers and first responders. Sounds like a win-win to me. If you would like to help, visit www.bdgsc.org.

Walking or hiking etiquetteLast weekend, a friend took her family on a hike at one of our state forests. She commented that apparently everyone in her ZIP code had the same idea.

“Maybe it was because we were outside and people didn’t think the 6 foot social distancing rule applied, but very few people were practicing the recommendation,” she said.

Please keep in mind that when you are outside, you still need to practice social distancing. Refrain from going on crowded trails and overlooks, as well as walking or hiking in large groups.

The following is advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Forest Service, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and health departments from various states:

  • Per CDC coronavirus guidelines, maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from everyone at trailheads, parking lots and on the trails.
  • If you are approaching others on the trail, step off to allow 6 feet of passing distance.
  • If approaching someone from behind, pass them on the left. Call out before passing to allow other hikers or runners to move aside.
  • Smile and wave, but avoid stopping to talk to others on the trail, which may lead to congregations of more than five people.
  • Keep dogs on a leash. If an unleashed dog jumps on others, you will have to approach them to retrieve your dog, negating social distancing.

Killing germs, not kindness

By now, most everyone knows the importance of 6-foot social distancing to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Please respect each other and practice this rule. As humans, we are wired to be social and this rule goes against our biological instinct. However, for now, it’s the norm. According to the Emily Post Institute, minimizing personal contact is considered proper etiquette — for the time being.

Manners, courtesy and civility never go out of style. In this time of crisis, they are needed more than ever. Remember, good manners are nothing more than treating others with respect and kindness.

“Killing germs does not mean killing kindness.” While I don’t know who coined this expression, it couldn’t be more appropriate than it is right now. Stay well my friends, and be kind to yourself and each other.

Pam Harvit, BSRDH MS, is a certified international corporate protocol and etiquette consultant and speaks nationally on business and medical etiquette, as well as other related topics. You may request her services or email your questions to pamharvit.com.

Funerals for Thursday, July 2, 2020

Adkins, Anne - 6 p.m., Roush Funeral Home, Ravenswood.

Morton, Freda - 11 a.m., Hafer Funeral Home, Elkview.

Nunn, Terry - 7 p.m., Good Shepherd Mortuary, South Charleston.

Olive, Rex - 2 p.m., Hafer Funeral Home, Elkview.

Reynolds, George - 2 p.m., Dodd & Reed Funeral Home, Webster Springs.

Rhodes, Ella - 4 p.m., Waybright Funeral Home, Ripley.

Rose, Carol - 10 a.m., Cunningham Memorial Park, St. Albans.

Waldron, Helen - 1 p.m., Forks of Coal Cemetery, Alum Creek.

Wibberg, David - 11 a.m., St. Anthony Catholic Church, Charleston.