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Sidewalk Etiquette in the Time of COVID
Posted on July 21, 2020 4:00 PM by Admin
If you need to be out and about during physical distancing, please mind your sidewalk manners.
But in the age of coronavirus, there are additional rules; and so with that in mind, here are my very own Miss Manners tips for how not to hog the pavement.
  • If a sidewalk is say 10 feet wide or wider, then chances are there may be room for two people side-by-side to walk and allow someone to maintain six feet of distance while passing. But if the sidewalk is narrow or if the sidewalk is busy at all, people need to walk single file.
  • Since here in the United States we drive on the right side, walking on the right side feels natural. If everyone can agree to walk on the right side, we can avoid the bob-and-weave dance of sidewalk navigation, and avoid bumping into each other.
  • Unless you are walking on a super wide sidewalk, stay near the edge to ensure that there can be a six-foot space between yourself and a passer.
  • If you are using a scooter, hoverboard, skateboard, or bike, stay in the bike lane or street. Sidewalks can't afford the chaos right now.
  • Think of the sidewalk as a two-lane, two-way road. Don't pass someone in front of you if there is someone approaching from the opposite direction – wait for them to pass before you get in their lane.
  • Many a city citizen can eat lunch while taking a phone call while out on their daily run. But while everyone is trying to keep six feet of distance in order, it's helpful to be focused on the sidewalk, not one's phone or other distractions.
  • If you need to stop walking and attend to something, step out of the way of traffic, much like you would were you in a car.
  • If you are on the same path with an elderly person or someone who is less agile than you are, be the person who moves out of the way so that they can maintain their stride.
  • Coronavirus or not, people need to walk their dogs. But when doing so, be mindful of the leash; if the leash is stretched across the sidewalk, it can make passing hard and may be a potential tripping hazard.
  • We are all about free-range parenting here on TreeHugger ... but on the sidewalk in the midst of physical distancing during a pandemic is not the time to let them run free. Keep the kids close, especially on narrow sidewalks shared with other other pedestrians.
  • Walk single file on narrow or busy sidewalks
  • Walk on the right side
  • Walk on the edge of narrow sidewalks
  • Do not bike or scooter on sidewalks
  • Do not pass when someone is approaching from the opposite direction
  • Don't multitask
  • No sudden stops; no stopping in the middle
  • Consider the less agile people
  • Shorten the leash when necessary
  • Herd the kids
  • And if you are running...remember that just because you may be passing a pedestrian quickly, you still need to stay six feet away from said pedestrian, even if that means you have to run in big zig-zaggy arcs.
For the entire March 31, 2020 article by Melissa Breyer visit Sidewalk Etiquitte.