My favourite barista always wears his mask below his nose. What should I do?

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Dear Urban Diplomat: My favourite barista always wears his mask below his nose. What should I do?

Dear Urban Diplomat,
The owner of my local coffee shop is a really great guy who makes such amazing cortados that I’ve been a devoted patron of his establishment for almost three years. But I’ve noticed that he always wears his mask below his nose—and sometimes down under his chin. Not only is he putting everyone at risk, his negligence when it comes to at-work Covid protocol makes me question how seriously he’s social distancing outside the shop. Should I switch shops, give him a gentle reminder, call public health?
—Venti Problemo, the Annex

Wearing a mask under one’s nose is a well-established Covid fail, but it’s completely inexcusable for someone in the food-service industry. Typically, I’d urge you to get out there and find a more conscientious barista. In this case, it sounds like your loyalty to cortado guy runs deep, so I suggest you address the issue head-on. Start by complimenting his fancy foamwork, then hit him with a shot of “But I noticed a little mask slippage.” If he wants to keep your business, he’ll get the message.


Dear Urban Diplomat,
My next-door neighbour has been on something of a sex bender since her divorce. Normally, this is something I would fully support, but we’re in the middle of a global pandemic, and she seems to meet a new guy on Tinder every week. She told me she asks whether they’ve been socially distancing or have any symptoms, but I’m not convinced that’s an airtight screening method. How can I broach the subject of safety with her?
—Tinder Loving Care, Roncesvalles

In regular times, I’d suggest giving her a high-five, but… well, you know. That said, there’s not much value in vocalizing your disapproval. Pandemic or not, her sex life is none of your business. If you’re friendly with her, and you’re genuinely concerned (as opposed to simply nosy and judgy), you could drop a few second-wave references while you’re out mowing the lawn and see if she gets the hint. Otherwise, my advice is to butt out.


Dear Urban Diplomat,
My sister-in-law is quite the hypochondriac, and Covid has taken her phobia to another level. I’m all for her holing up in her downtown condo and eating home-delivered groceries, but my son’s sixth birthday is coming up and she’s refusing to attend the socially distanced backyard bash, despite living a 10-minute TTC ride away. She basically said that being around a bunch of pre-pubescent potential virus carriers is a major no-no. How can I convince her to come?
—Germ Warfare, North York

Your sister-in-law has a point: kids are little germ factories, and following pandemic protocols is not their strongest suit. But maybe you can gently cajole her with this approach: tell her how much you want her to be there, offer to Uber her over (if she’s public-transit-averse) and suggest she arrive early, before the potentially viral hordes. You can also remind her that there’s a significantly lower risk of catching the virus outdoors. If all that fails, you’ll just have to accept her decision. Your six-year-old will no doubt be too hopped up on cake and ice cream to notice her absence anyway.