Flemish company bans handshakes amid coronavirus fears
Thursday, 27 February 2020
A poster at the entrance asks people not to kiss or hug each other, or to shake each others' hand. Credit: Pxhere
Duma, a company in the city of Kortrijk in the province of West Flanders, has banned handshakes among its staff out of fear for the coronavirus.
“It is an internal measure to protect our staff, which comes into contact with people from foreign countries, both from inside the EU and outside of it, rather regularly,” Mike Feys, the COO of Duma, sells and rents out forklifts and aerial work platforms, told The Brussels Times. “We have extended the measure to our entire staff, to make it more clear for everyone,” he added.
A poster at the entrance asks people not to kiss or hug each other, or to shake hands. In several rooms, disinfectant gel has also been placed.
“In the beginning, you want to give each other a hand, but that is no longer allowed,” said employee Angelo Vandenbulcke to VRT. “Now we nod at each other, or smile,” he added.
“At first, we noticed that new clients still have the urge to extend their hands when we meet them, but we then say that we would rather not shake it. We also immediately explain why, and many clients understand. They even often say that they had not thought about it like that yet, but that we are definitely right,” Feys said.
“We certainly don’t want to cause panic,” Feys said. “At the moment we’re not feeling the impact of the coronavirus, but we think there may be a domino effect.”