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What To Do If Someone Is Not Following Social Distancing Rules


While most Americans are following common social distancing rules, like staying six feet apart, and covering coughs, there are also plenty of people who don’t, or won’t. So, what should you do if you come in contact with any of these rule breakers?

Well, experts tell “Time” magazine that it’s perfectly okay to call those people out, it’s just how you do it that’s key. “We shouldn’t be obnoxious, we shouldn’t get nasty,”Arthur Caplan, director of the Division of Medical Ethics at New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine, tells the mag. “But in this day and age, I think you can speak up.” 

While it can be easy to get annoyed at folks and scold them for not following recommendations, Northeastern University law professorAziza Ahmed,an expert in health law, notes, “Everyone is stressed out and fearful for their own health. We have to be sensitive to what other people have the capacity to do.” 

The experts suggest the best way to handle someone who isn’t following self-distancing rules is to use the “it’s not you, it’s me” approach.

  • Instead of yelling at them to keep their distance, try to remind them that you or someone else around you could have the virus without knowing it and it’s in their best interest to move six feet away.
  • If your state is issuing fines for not social distancing, try appealing to their wallet.
  • And if it’s a state that arrests those not following orders, show concern for their freedom. 

AsStuart Finder, director of the Center of Healthcare Ethics at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, explains, “You want to find ways that reinforce that ‘we’re in this together,’ versus ‘You’re not doing what I want you to do.’”


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