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Colour-coded wristbands guide social distancing in Dubai office

DUBAI (Reuters) – As nearly 100 employees went back to work in the office of a Dubai media company, managers found a way to avoid awkwardness around social distancing — colour-coded bracelets indicating how staff want to be greeted.

At the reception of Create Media Group, employees can choose between green bracelets, to show fist bumps are fine, yellow ones to indicate they can chat without touching, and red bands to keep a distance from others.

“Anybody can walk into the reception, they pick one of those bands up and they put that on and it gives a very clear signal to anyone else who is interacting with them on how close to get,” said Tom Otton, managing director at Create Media Group.

Individuals may have differing views on how to deal with COVID-19.

“In terms of personal choice… there is no easy way for people to understand where someone is coming from,” Otton said.

The United Arab Emirates has seen an “alarming” increase in the number of coronavirus cases over the past three weeks, the health ministry has said. The number of COVID-19 infections in the Gulf state since the start of the pandemic has exceeded 67,000 with 376 deaths.

The UAE could reintroduce an overnight curfew in areas of the country where there are higher numbers of COVID-19 infections, a government official said on Saturday.

At Create Media Group building, some employees are feeling comfortable about resuming social life and work from offices, but others remain cautious.

“We work in the field of photography and we meet many people, and members of my family at home are very old. I have to take all precautions,” said Mohammed Abu Youssef, the company’s social media manager, pointing to his yellow band.