11 helpful New York social distancing hacks

Social distancing is made easy by following these new rules.

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver
Editor, Time Out New York

It’s been seven months of social distancing in New York City, which means 28 weeks of keeping to ourselves, skipping hugs, avoiding meeting new people, missing out on parties and readjusting our lifestyles to avoid groups of people. Unfortunately, it's not as easy as it is at some of our parks, where social distancing circles literally keep us in our bubbles. That being said, we're now basically social distancing pros, so we're sharing some hacks that’ll make everyone’s lives easier as we carefully traverse the cityscape.

1. Keep three corgi-lengths; a yoga mat; an adult bicycle; a cow; two hockey sticks; or a Christmas tree between you.

Any of these things is about six feet, so imagine them between yourself and the stranger nearest to you. Having an image to help you keep your distance is most helpful when out and about. Whatever helps you remember what six feet looks like, use it. 

2. Can't read your coffee shop's specials? Don't stand closer to the counter, take a photo of the list on your phone and zoom in, people.

Gone are the days of standing at the corner deciding what you want. You should already know what you want when you step up to the cashier and if you don’t step back (or out) with a photo of the menu or QR code menu on your phone. It’ll keep the area clear and safe.

3. Take the path less traveled. 

Reroute yourself to side streets and less-crowded avenues to get to your destination. Not only will you avoid the masses but you could discover something new about the neighborhood.

4. Chivalry is nice, but please don't hold the door.

We appreciate a kind gesture, but what would be kinder right now is to keep your distance. 

5. If you're smelling someone's perfume, they're too close!

Not so good at visualizing space between people? One hint you can count on is if you smell someone, it’s time to back up. 

6. Don’t bathe so that getting close to you is a punishment.

Likewise, if you smell bad enough the people will notice and stay away. Just sayin’.

7. Proactively wave or elbow bump.

Stop someone for going in for a handshake or hug by offering another touch-free greeting. They’ll get the hint. 

8. Don’t reach over someone to grab something off a shelf — ask politely if they can move.

Amazingly, some people forget social distancing rules while shopping. If you need something where someone is already standing, just ask if you can get in there. It’s better than the alternative—pissing someone off because you got into their personal space.

9. Go shopping during off hours like later at night or earlier in the morning to avoid the rush.

Want to avoid the crowds? Go early in the morning or late at night. It’s not convenient, but that’s the point. No one wants to be there during those hours, so you’ll have more space to yourself to dance in the aisles.

10. Embrace the bag lady—carry enough bags to create a barrier of plastic around you.

Finally use that bag lady persona to your advantage. If you cover yourself in enough bags, you’ll form a natural forcefield around you that no one dare penetrate.

11. Or just wear your Halloween costume in public.

No one wants to go near the weirdo in the ghost mask, right?

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