Green for hugs, red for no touching: US events introduce pandemic color coding | US news

To encourage greater respect for people’s boundaries, event organizers are using colored accessories to help people communicate their comfort around physical touch, reports the Wall Street Journal.

As coronavirus restrictions continue to lift, many physical acts of socializing – hugs, handshakes, and everything in between – have become less enjoyable for people. While some are excited to start socializing up close, others are vehemently protecting their physical space. Hence the creation of the color-coded accessories, sometimes stickers, lanyards or bracelets, to distinguish who is comfortable with which type of touch.

At in-person events such as those hosted by the Chesterfield Chamber of Commerce near the Virginia’s capital city, the hosts have given attendees red, yellow and green stickers with signs explaining the color code. At one of the Chamber’s events, a sign stated that red means that no physical contact is desired, “no exceptions”. Those who wear a yellow ribbon are okay with only elbow contact, like an elbow bulge. Green means that “hugs” [are] welcome”.

Danielle Fitz-Hugh, President of the Chamber, noted that the number of physical touch comfort levels is increasing as face-to-face meetings become more common. “The Greens are ready to party right now,” Danielle Fitz-Hugh told WSJ.

Guests were also able to grab a bracelet at an annual conference hosted by the Southeast American Association of Airport Executive in Georgia. Posters stated that green for those who “celebrate like it is 2019”, yellow for those who feel “2020 has confused me” and red for “wake me up in 2022”.

In addition to public events, some offices have also started implementing the red-yellow-green systems in order to better support the people who work personally.

The red, yellow, and green accessories are one of many pandemic-era tools designed to help people feel more comfortable at face-to-face gatherings. Other innovations are signs, sometimes adapted, that ask others to stay socially distant from someone.



Robert Dunfee