Even without coronavirus, some say it doesn’t hurt to give others space

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Social distancing is changing the way we interact, but what happens when the pandemic passes?

A hug and a handshake are ways we’ve always interacted, but with COVID-19 many are stepping back to give others space.

Now, two Kansas Citians are looking forward to see how our social landscape may be different.

Carol Winner, who works as a public health specialist, started the movement “Give Space.” It’s inspired by her late mother, Charline, who was immunocompromised for decades.

Give Space is accompanied by the image of a peach, which Winner said signifies a sensitive layer on the outside.

“Germ and touch can be very harmful, and there’s so many other ways we can show we care,” Winner said. “Giving space is a kind message with the beautiful peach symbol that defines your personal space boundary. That this is my personal space, and I decide who can come into that space, and how I engage with other people.”

Space isn’t just when we are with our family and friends, but in the workplace as well.

Clyde McQueen runs the Full Employment Council in Kansas City. They work with the Department of Labor to help people find work through the metro and receive training to improve their skills.

“We have had to change our way of doing business in the last 34 years, overnight in five days,” McQueen said.

He said finding a job will look a lot different. Zoom interviews may be more common and moving toward a mostly online process.

“What we must do in lieu of shaking hands is look people in the eye, be affirming of their presence,” McQueen said. “So when you’re talking to someone you have to affirm that they are with you at least by looking at them.”

Winner said you can do this by using a symbol or communicating your needs to the person around you.

“I’m hoping that people will recognize it without conversation — take a step back,” Winner said. “It’s kind. It’s a beautiful symbol, and we can change the way we show we care.”

If you are interested in learning more about Give Space, you can visit their website.

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