At least for a while, the etiquette of the Italian baci and French bises will get put on hold.
Whether you kiss on the cheeks twice, three times or four, it’s a cultural norm that will have to stop under health advice in both countries.
French websites have been full of alternative greetings, and etiquette expert Philippe Lichtfus says greeting someone by looking them in the eyes isn’t rude, it just makes more sense and could even come across as more sincere. But for radio comic Tanguy Pastureau, France without kisses isn’t really France any more.
The government in Rome has urged Italians to keep one metre apart and stop kisses and hugs and Italian journalist Angela Mauro is appalled. “Coronavirus doesn’t allow you to stay human,” she complains.