Should You Ever Tell a Stranger to Wear a Mask?

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Playing How Can You Kindly Tell Neighbors to Wear Their Mask?

Is it ever a good idea to tell a stranger, neighbor, or friend to put on a mask? The Doctors welcome etiquette coach Elaine Swann to weigh in on COVID etiquette.

Watch: Vitamin D Found to Help Fight COVID-19?

According to Elaine, the best approach when asking someone to wear a mask includes these tips:

  • Never yell at them about not wearing a mask
  • If someone is not wearing a mask in a shared space (like an elevator), she says to wait for them to exit or find an alternate route
  • In a situation where you have to share space with someone not wearing a mask, she says to turn away from them
  • If you know the person, she suggests saying something like, "Don't forget your mask," as a gentle reminder
  • When someone tells you they will not wear a mask, she notes you're not likely going to be able to change their mind about the issue in that the moment
  • She notes if someone is in your close personal space and not wearing a mask, she suggests asking them a non-confrontational question like, "Do you have a mask?" 

Watch: How to Spot COVID in Kids

The etiquette coach also suggests instead of using words like "you," to instead focus on words like "we," "I," and "us," when inquiring about their mask. Instead of saying, "You need to put on your wear mask," try, "Can we protect one another and put our masks on?"

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