Why people in Denmark are wearing ‘social distance badges’

Why people in Denmark are wearing 'social distance badges'
Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix
The Danish Health Authority last week introduced new badges offering reminders of the need to maintain a social distance in public.

The badge is primarily designed to be worn by people who are in at-risk groups for serious illness should they become infected with Covid-19.

Relatives and others close to people in vulnerable groups can also make use of the badges, which can be collected for free from pharmacies while supplies last.

It is also possible to order the badges via patient support organisations.

“I had a heart operation last year and me father-in-law also has a need to tell others they should keep a (social) distance,” a member of the public wearing the badge told DR.

The round, blue pin badge is designed to be clearly visible in situations in which the wearer wants to ask those around them to maintain a distance – for example on buses or in supermarkets.

Others told the broadcaster that they wanted to wear the badge because of a general tendency amongst the public to take a loos approach to distancing guidelines.

“I’ve had the shopping cart behind me in the queue for the cash register to make sure there’s enough distance between us,” one person, reported by DR to have a chronic lung condition, said.

There is good reason to believe wearers of the badge will experience the desired effect of maintaining social distance, Aarhus University political science professor Michael Bang Petersen, who has researched public perception of coronavirus guidelines in Denmark, told DR.

“We have carried out a fair amount of research which shows that a very effective way to get people to keep a distance is through empathy with vulnerable groups. Not least by putting a face to who we are protecting by doing this. That’s what these badges can help with,” Petersen said to DR.

The badges signal the importance of remembering distancing guidelines, the professor said.

“They signal: remember to keep a distance. That can lead to vulnerable people maybe feeling more comfortable with going out in public,” he said.

READ ALSO: Denmark has lowest deaths in population for six years despite coronavirus


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