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How to practice customer etiquette during a pandemic

Etiquette and manners may look different during the pandemic as businesses reopen.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Shaking hands and a goodbye hug were once considered normal gestures when going out, but, in a pandemic, those actions could lead to an awkward encounter.

“If you give me a handshake, I’ll shake your hand, then I’ll go sanitize myself,” Restaurant owner Aziz Bellarbi-Salah said.

Bellarbi-Salah said, when it comes to guest etiquette, he asks that people going to restaurants are patient with wait staff and understand that there’s a lot of people around who don’t feel safe, even if you do.

“They need to be bringing their mask and understand that wearing a mask isn’t about them and their safety or their rights. It’s about the people around them and the service and service staff,” Bellarbi-Salah explained.

Elizabeth Guerrero, owner of the Red Rabbit restaurant, said a waiter might stand further away or make less visits to the table to show good manners to customers.

“We are asking our guests to rethink their perspective on what good customer service is,” Guerrero said. "Understand that we are not trying to ignore them. We [are] not trying to avoid coming to the table. We are just trying to protect both the health and safety of our guest and the staff."

Master Etiquette Trainer Angie Allison said in order to have good manners in this new era you must know the expectation of an establishment before leaving the house so you don’t accidentally offend those around you.

“A lot of it is the guidelines and how you are going to politely behave within those guidelines,” Allison said.

Always ask before approaching someone. People may be at a high risk for catching the virus and want to keep a further distance while others may be more relaxed with their interactions. Allison said reaching for a handshake or a hug is still discouraged, but there are alternatives to greeting politely.

“It’s okay to do the elbow or to give the knob of the head,” Allison said.

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WATCH MORE: California releases new guidelines to reopen dine-in restaurant services