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Relaxing the Rules of Social Distancing

  • June 02, 2020

Elisha Baskin, 33, lives with her husband, Yuval Ben-Ami, 44, and their daughter, Akko, 2, in Lauris, a small Provençal village in the Luberon region of France. France loosened its lockdown on May 11, just before Mr. Ben-Ami’s birthday, a coincidence of timing that Ms. Baskin felt was the ideal excuse for a party.

She reached out to a handful of close friends to see if they wanted to celebrate together, and opted to simply be straightforward.

“I didn’t want to create a situation where someone felt uncomfortable telling me that they weren’t comfortable, so I just asked each person directly: ‘I’m thinking of having a party, we’ll be outside in the yard and it will be small, do you want to come?’” she said.

Everyone accepted the invitation. On the day of the party, there were 12 guests, ranging from age 33 to 63. Ms. Baskin set up a large table outdoors, and at first everyone stayed outdoors and six feet apart. At first, they weren’t sure how to greet each other.

“The bisou is a big thing in France,” Ms. Baskin said, referring to the time-honored tradition there of greeting people with a kiss or two, “so people were going to kiss and then stopping.”

But the group quickly relaxed and even moved indoors.

“At first people were maintaining distance but as the wine came, the party flowed,” she said. “I didn’t want to be the police, but I did keep thinking, ‘Oh my God, what would I do if someone got sick at this party?’ It’s a big responsibility.”

Two weeks have now passed, and no one who attended the birthday party has become sick, which she says is a relief. “It’s OK to convene in groups now, but mentally, I’m having to realize I cannot control germs and I also cannot control human behavior,” she said.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/02/realestate/virus-social-distancing-etiquette-rules.html

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