I've been vaccinated against Covid-19, and even though I know in the back of my mind that the pandemic is not necessarily behind us, I've sort of been falling back into my old habits of public affection.

Chrissy Gaetke, WJON
Chrissy Gaetke, WJON

I've always been a hugger. I was at the Rox game Monday night, and saw some friends that I haven't seen in over a year. I was so excited to see them, that I didn't even hesitate to go in for a hug.

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Rear view of friends hugging.
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I also will meet a lot of our listeners when I'm out and about, or people that I'm planning on interviewing. I automatically reach out my hand for a handshake.  I notice a lot of people in their mid twenties to forties still wearing masks, and I'll even hug them or reach for their hand. So far, no one has said, "Oh sorry....I can't shake your hand"...or "Kelly...No!"

Are people offended by my actions? I'm truly doing it because that's who I am. I'm not trying to get on anyone's nerves; but I always think about what I've done after I did it.

So...is there a right or wrong here? No one should be put in an uncomfortable position to feel like they HAVE to shake my hand...or hug me. Is this putting them in that position?


According to an article I found in USA TODAY, hugging isn't just a kind gesture, it also helps reduce stress, strengthen our immune system, and helps improve people's moods when they are feeling conflict in their life.

According to the article, hugging may actually be one of the safest ways to show affection. When you hug someone, usually your faces are not close. As long as you are not coughing, talking, or singing right in their face, it's actually a safer option for showing affection, as noses and mouths are turned away.


So here is the general rule.

Vaccinated people hugging other vaccinated people is okay. Unvaccinated people hugging unvaccinated people is NOT safe.  Now...what about combinations? What if I, vaccinated Kelly, hug you not vaccinated friend? Maybe not. You, the vaccinated person might be okay, but you still might be able to pass on Covid to someone else that you hug later, that is NOT vaccinated.


There are no solid answers. But given the above information, if you feel the need to hug someone, keep it brief, and keep your head turned away from theirs.  I'm sending a virtual hug to YOU right now. Oh...and if I reach out to shake your hand or hug you, and it makes you feel uncomfortable, just throw an air shake or air hug at me with a smile! I'll get the message.

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