The new normal brings with it an unfamiliar set of social rules to grapple with. How do we greet our hairdressers? Are your barbecue guests allowed to use the loo? There’s much to think about, but we’ve got you covered. Here’s how to...

Say hello

Back in the old normal, as it shall now be named, handshakes and hugs were customary. Now, extending a palm is near criminal.

But we’ve dearly missed our hairdressers (and our friends, of course, but our hairdressers most of all), so let’s look to UK royal protocol for inspiration. From waves to curtsies, the monarchy has a long list of socially distanced greetings that are perfect for these Covid times. If you’re feeling flamboyant, try a bow on entry to the salon; for a more cordial approach, a nod will suffice.

The “namaste” pose – involves a small head bow with the hands clasped together in a prayer-like position. Polite and fuss free, it’s a perfect way to say a warm hello while avoiding those pesky airborne droplets.

Choose the right face mask

Pre-lockdown, we made statements through our outfits. Now, everything is about the cloth over your face; with smiles off limits, your choice of PPE speaks a thousand words. Choose one that will protect you – and make you look stylish.

Attend a Zoom wedding

Webcams lack the social safety provided by a church pew and eight rows of rented hats; if it’s switched on, there will be no way of hiding any signs of your... envy. Nor is a digital do an excuse to turn up in your pyjamas. Grant Harrold, an etiquette expert, says the key to a successful online ceremony is enforcing traditional dress codes. “Dress up in a hat and tails and keep very quiet,” he says. “At the end of the wedding, the bride and groom may want to interact with people on Zoom, so be ready for that too.”

Pass the time in a queue

A study by researchers at University College London in 2017 found that people will wait for an average of six minutes in a queue before giving up in frustration.

It goes without saying that in-store socialising is now taboo and congestion-causing; opt for a smile instead, and keep any complaints – or judgments on the contents of fellow shoppers’ baskets – in your head.

Ask someone entering your house to cover up

The key here is to treat face coverings in the same way you would requests for shoe removal. Perhaps it will take the form of a snazzy slogan doormat – even if it means becoming that person who has a “keep calm and put your mask on” print in your home. If you’re the labrador-on-the-bed and wellies in the kitchen type – those who wouldn’t dream of requiring shoe removal on entry – try hanging them on the dog lead rack by the door as a gentle means of encouragement. Sort of like hotel slippers, but for the pandemic age.

The Daily Telegraph

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