comscore How do I politely ask someone to wear a mask? | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Top News

How do I politely ask someone to wear a mask?

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS ILLUSTRATION/PETER HAMLIN

    ASSOCIATED PRESS ILLUSTRATION/PETER HAMLIN

How do I politely ask someone to wear a mask?

Experts say you should make the request discreetly because shaming the person could put them on the defensive.

If they feel violated by the way you approach them, they are much less likely to make a change, said Jan Kavookjian, a behavioral scientist at Auburn University. She said citing local rules or recommendations from health officials could also help in some cases.

“Someone feels less threatened when you say, ‘Here’s what the experts say’,” Kavookjian said.

Public health experts say masks are key to reducing the spread of COVID-19. But asking a stranger to put one on could still result in a volatile situation, since they may not be easily persuaded.

Rather than risk a confrontation, experts say it might be best to steer clear of people without masks in public if you can.

And if you’re in a store or restaurant, it’s best to have a manager or someone in charge ask the person, said Diane Gottsman, an etiquette expert.

If you do find yourself interacting with someone who is not wearing a mask, Gottsman suggests saying something like, “For your safety and mine, I would feel much more comfortable if we were both wearing masks.”

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature
Comments (51)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Scroll Up