LONG ISLAND, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The coronavirus pandemic has created a total upheaval in our daily lives, and now we face another dilemma — how to confront a social distancing rule-breaker.

On Monday, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan spoke to some of you and to the experts.

Young people have been seen drinking on streets of the East Village. Others gathering on Fire Island in large crowds. A shopper in Astoria was caught on video coughing on food and a patron when asked to “mask up.”

One man in Florida actually pulled a gun.


What if you saw someone breaking the rules?

“The way I look at it, you just mind your business,” one person said.

“You can remind them. Tug on your mask,” another person said.

“Otherwise we are not serving you,” one business owner said, adding he hasn’t had any fights break out.

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Is it a civic duty to report social distancing rule breakers?

“If you confront somebody, you are liable to get into a very uncomfortable argument,” one man said.

“You don’t escalate a situation. You do want to be a responsible citizen,” etiquette expert Myka Meier said.

Meier, founder of Beaumont Etiquette in the Plaza Hotel, added, “If you become the enforcement agent, people don’t usually take well to that.”

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She suggests rather than confront, remove yourself. Quietly inform a restaurant manager, merchant, or local authorities.

“Reminded, not assaulted,” one man said.

Police and public safety officers say they have been relying on persuasion, not fines, probation or jail, to enforce the public health directive.

“Law enforcement and the Health Department are doing everything that they can,” one young man said.

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Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said gently and directly ask for compliance. Hand them a mask.

“The last thing we need in today’s society is to fire more people up. What we are trying to do is bring it down, educate. Almost everybody complies. Some of the businesses have been a little foolish,” Ryder said.

Some slip up accidentally; others intentionally.

“They’re yelling ‘Trump doesn’t wear a mask, neither do I have to wear a mask,'” a man said.

“Etiquette is all about kindness and respect and consideration for everyone,” Meier said.

Putting the health of others first is a good way to practice social distancing etiquette.

Comments (8)
  1. E says:

    Mask or not you can still get it. Bigger thing to do if you really want to protect yourself or should I said prevent yourself from COVID is to eat a well balanced diet. Take your vitamins. Most people are nutrient deficient and that will most certainly heighten your risk of getting infected. I’m a current tri athlete and if it wasn’t for my amazing health then maybe I would be concerned about the flu. I mean COVID.. interesting why the cdc or who haven’t been speaking out about health and only want you to shut cities down and have everyone home wearing mask. I do wear, a mask if I go into a store so I can get served but That’s it. If you as a person feel that concerned about this virus or worried so much about others then please we ask you to stay home.. things that people are dying from other then COVID don’t seem to be an issue anymore cancer car crashes tobacco alcohol etc.. I’m a realist. I have many friends that work in hospitals and many deaths are getting labeled COVID when they are not actually dying from that the numbers are not factual.. but just my thought.. be safe everyone

  2. NancyLee Jordan-Hess says:

    It doesn’t matter if you stay 6 feet away, it lives in the air for up to 8 min. So, say ‘Jeff’ has COVID-19, he decides to not wear a mask, he goes to the store, and he coughs. Then ‘Jennifer’ (who decided not to wear a mask either) walks by the place ‘Jeff’ coughed at 4 min. later she could very likely get it too.

    1. davidjashby says:

      Wear a mask. Live in a web of facial recognition AI driven cameras. Take the vaccine which will alter your DNA. Obey! Obey! Obey!

      They can only get away with this if we all do their work for them.

      If you see someone without a mask, cheer them on for having the courage not to comply. And rip your mask from your own face too. Be free. Love Jesus. Do not worship the devil.

      1. Jack Pine says:

        Your premise is that rather than being a form of health protection, a mask is a form of coercion, one of other assaults to liberty that you perceive being visited upon yourself and others. Thus, the act of not wearing a mask and telling others not to is an act of courage.

        I would venture to say you also don’t believe that the pandemic is a real public health hazard, that we have been lied to about over 190K people dying in the USA from COVID-19, and that it is all an attempt by the Deep State, or the radical left or the media to control us.

        I would opine that I can’t see any rational reason for anybody to visit a fake pandemic upon the entire world, unless it is the manufacturers of PPE or big pharma. Given that neither was at all prepared for this, I would say they were not in on it. The only reason health care workers pre-pandemic wore PPE was to help prevent becoming ill themselves or spreading illness to their patients. It would be interesting to see if you would be willing to undergo surgery with the operating room staff not wearing gloves and masks. Now that would be a real act of courage on your part!

      2. Michael W Perer says:

        I can’t believe how the lack of common sense and common decency is eroding this country-people please listen to the actual experts. I’m not staying home because of others bad behaver . How is wearing a mask infringing on your rights. What about all of our rights to stay healthy and not die. This covid19 has exposed a lot of people in this country as the F*cks that they are. It’s very very very sad !!!

  3. Jenna says:

    People still get in your space at the supermarket

  4. Art says:

    How about you just stay 6 feet from that persons face and mind your own business? Presto, proper physical distancing maintained!!!

  5. Keith Johnson says:

    It is also proper etiquette to not sneeze or cough on anyone too, but I guess we have raised our children to believe that what THEY want is all that matters.

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