Face Masks, Etiquette, & Your Image
Henry A. Davidsen is proud to continue its partnership with Career Wardrobe as the COVID-19 pandemic has such a profound impact on employment in our region. Please read about Career Wardrobe’s OutFIT for Work campaign and how Henry A. Davidsen is supporting it.
COVID-19 has tested us, individually and collectively, in many ways. At best, we’ve experienced massive disruption in our daily routines, with many of our livelihoods falling victim to the pandemic and the shutdown that followed. Tragically, many have lost their lives and livelihoods, and continue to do so.
A discussion on image may seem trivial in the context of a public health emergency that has no end in sight. Still, we’re image consultants, and there’s a nascent conversation developing on face masks, etiquette, and your image. It’s an important one to have.
Please be aware that there is no political bent to this post. Though our country’s hyper-politicization has unsurprisingly bled into the topic of masks, we simply aim to educate and inform on this topic as it relates to your image.
Etiquette & Image
Etiquette is a component of behavior, which is one of the ABC’s of image. The word “etiquette” means “the customary code of polite behavior in society or among members of a particular profession or group.” When we think of etiquette, we tend to think of traditional situations – which fork to use for which dinner course, how to shake hands properly, and the like. In the age of the novel coronavirus, wearing a face mask is fast becoming an etiquette indicator.
No matter what specific behavior we’re talking about, etiquette boils down to one simple concept: am I actively taking the comfort and well-being of others into consideration?
Proper Face Mask Etiquette – Three Tips
Regulations around mask-wearing vary from state to state. In some places like Philadelphia and the surrounding area, they vary from municipality to municipality. This patchwork of guidance is a breeding ground for confusion and frustration, so we hope that tips on etiquette can help fill in these gaps.
1. Wear a Mask
Our first mask etiquette tip is simple: if you are not in your own home, default to wearing a mask even if it’s uncomfortable. One of the more frustrating things about COVID-19 is the conflicting information we’ve often received, even from within the medical community. While we acknowledge that we’re still learning about this virus, we base our guidance here on a simple adage: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. You never know who around you is immunocompromised – again, coming back to the comfort and well-being of others. If wearing a mask saves even one life or prevents one hospital visit, it’s worth it.
Our second tip: communicate. Another ABC of image, communication, involves (but is not limited to) speaking, writing, and listening. As it relates to mask-wearing, communicate with the people you’ll be around and with the businesses you plan to patronize. It’s acceptable to gauge an individual’s comfort level around mask-wearing, so go ahead and ask.
If a business has a mask or sanitation protocol which it requires its customers to adhere to, adhere to it. This keeps the employees’ comfort and safety in mind alongside your own. Workers at restaurants, grocery stores, and traditional retailers are often underpaid and under-appreciated. They now have to contend with the risk of contracting and/or spreading illness on top of the normal demands of their jobs. The bare minimum we can do is wear a mask for them.
3. Be Kind
Our third tip: Be kind. This is a time of unprecedented stress, anxiety, and depression for many. The person next to you in line at the grocery store may have lost her job as a result of COVID. The couple two tables over from you may have a loved one in the hospital that they can’t visit.
In this way, wearing a mask is an act of kindness. A little kindness always goes a long way, but this is particularly true at this time.
Whether we like it or not, mask-wearing is now a part of the image we project to the world. Good mask etiquette achieves a chivalric goal: keep the comfort and well-being of those around you top of mind. The Henry Davidsen family (employees and clients) strive to be our most gentlemanly selves – courteous, chivalric, and honorable. Masking up is one of the more gentlemanly things we can do nowadays.
Please consider supporting those that have been displaced due to COVID-19 to get back on their feet with a donation to Career Wardrobe’s OutFIT for Work campaign. $50 provides a full interview outfit for an individual seeking employment.