There's a Right Way to Ask Someone to Put on a Face Mask, Experts Say

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Over the weekend, President Donald Trump asked a reporter to remove his mask while asking a question during a press conference. Trump appeared annoyed when the reporter spoke louder instead.

But issues usually arise when people are asked to put masks on, and etiquette expert Elaine Swann says there is a right way to do so in order to avoid a confrontation.

After seven months of dealing with COVID-19, the mask wars endure, and way too often ends in screaming, yelling or worse. So if you see someone in a supermarket without a mask, Swann says the first rule is to take a step back.

"There's probably nothing you're gonna be able to say or do to get that person to comply, so rely on the authority figures who are present," Swann said. "This could be the store manager, maybe one of the cashiers there. If the store happens to have a security guard or something."

But if you feel the situation needs to be dealt with, use the right words.

"Don't use 'you' statements," Swann said. "For example, 'you need to put on your mask or you should social distance.' Instead, use terms such as 'we,' for example, 'How about we make sure that we put on our masks, how about we put a little bit more space between one another.'"

And if you see other people going at each other?

"Whenever we see conflict taking place and it doesn't involve you, the best thing to do is to say out of it," Swann said.


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