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New social norms replace traditional ways of socialising after coronavirus pandemic

The importance of hygiene practices like sneezing into your elbow has become highlighted as polite social etiquette amid the coronavirus outbreak. Source: picture alliance

Social etiquette is no longer the same in the highly infectious coronavirus environment we find ourselves in. Keeping a physical distance, sneezing into your elbow, and regular hand washing are just some of the new norm.

“Alone Together” is a pilot study Dr De Souza recently launched in partnership with RMIT, Monash University, University of Melbourne, Bendigo Hospital and the Australian Digital Health Agency. The study seeks to uncover how COVID-19 is affecting seniors aged over 65 from multicultural backgrounds.

What we found in our research is that people are very very afraid of challenging strangers or even people that are neighbours about behaviours. One of the women that I spoke to in Sydney said that she was afraid of challenging anyone because she could be exposed to stranger violence.

Podgorska says perhaps the hardest social etiquette to observe is not being allowed to hug and kiss.  

We all had to learn the elbow greetings or just a wave so depending on how close they are but they try so we have to keep remind each other - no hugging and kissing and that’s a big thing cause for multicultural people, we really love hugs and kisses and dance and food. I did not realise how much we done this until it was all taken away, you know.

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People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 meters away from others. Find out what restrictions are in place for your state or territory.

Testing for coronavirus is now widely available across Australia. If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.
The federal government's coronavirus tracing app COVIDSafe is available for download from your phone's app store.

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments.

News and information is available in 63 languages  at  https://www.sbs.com.au/language/coronavirus

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