To encourage better respect towards people’s boundaries, event hosts are using colored accessories to help people communicate their comfort around physical touch, reports the Wall Street Journal.
As coronavirus restricts continue to be lifted, many physical acts of socializing – hugs, handshakes and everything in between, have become less comfortable for people. While some are excited to begin up-close-and-personal socializing, others are fiercely protective of their physical space. Hence, the creation of the colored-coded accessories, sometimes stickers, lanyards or bracelets, to differentiate who is comfortable with what kind of touch.
At in-person events like the ones hosted by the Chesterfield chamber of commerce, located near Virginia’s capital, hosts have been giving out red, yellow and green stickers to attendees, with signs explaining the colors’ code. At an event hosted by the chamber, a sign explained that red means no physical contact wanted, “no exceptions”. Those wearing a yellow band are only OK with elbow contact, like an elbow bump. Green means that “hugs [are] welcome”.
Danielle Fitz-Hugh, president of the chamber, noted the variety of comfort levels around physical touch as in-person gathering becomes more frequent. “The greens are just ready to party,” said Danielle Fitz-Hugh to WSJ.
Similarly, at an annual conference hosted by the south-east chapter of the American Association of Airport Executive in Georgia, guests could grab a wristband. Placards explained that green for those “Celebrating like it’s 2019”, yellow for anyone feeling “2020 has me confused”, and red for “Wake me up in 2022”.
In addition to public events, some offices have also started implementing the red-yellow-green systems to better support those working in person.
The red-yellow-green accessories are one of many pandemic-era tools that have been created to help people feel more comfortable at in-person gatherings. Other innovations include directive signs, sometimes customized, that inform others to remain socially distanced from someone.