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No more handshakes? Not as easy as you think

Adjusting to the new hands-off coronavirus world
Posted at 10:51 AM, Mar 06, 2020

When it comes to business dealings, a handshake has long been a sign of respect and goodwill.

World leaders do it. Sports heroes do it. Handshakes are a part of our daily life.

But coronavirus is starting to turn us into a no-touch society.

"I have started doing fist bumps, or even not touching at all," said Downtown worker Laura Sauder.

And if we touch, out comes the sanitizer right afterward.

"I still shake people's hands," Kelsey Bartlett said. "I just have Purell in my purse."

"We are human beings, we shake hands"

Nick Vehr runs an advertising and marketing agency, Vehr Communications,in downtown Cincinnati.

"It's tough to get by not shaking hands," he said. "I mean, we are human beings. We touch, we shake hands. That's a reinforcing thing."

He said fist bumps and elbow bumps are awkward outside of a sports arena, but already some places are putting up signs banning handshakes. At the Utah state capitol in Salt Lake City, signs throughout the building mark out a handshake-free zone.

Vehr, a product of the 1980s and '90s, said it's tough breaking old habits.

"I still can't completely shake giving a hug to someone I haven't seeing a long time," he said.

However, he has seen a big drop-off in office hugs in the years since the #MeToo movement started. Over time, he can see handshakes going the same way.

Handshakes just a part of the problem

It's not just the hug and handshake habit we may have to break this spring. Think of all the things you touch in the course of a day.

Someone hands you your morning cup of coffee. Then you stop by the mailbox and touch that. After that, you head to work, where you touch the same handles everyone else does.

From door handles to elevator buttons to faucets, we are going to going to have to adjust routines for coronavirus.

Darlene Brown already has.

"I just use my sleeve when I have to touch things," she said.

So Nick Vehr and I practiced a quick fist bump instead of a handshake after our interview, and we realized it's going to take a while to feel comfortable in this new no-handshake world.

As always, don't waste your money.


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