Even though the only Montanans with coronavirus are currently out-of-state, it’s probably wise at this point to avoid shaking hands. Nonetheless, Senator Tester’s (apparently serious) suggestion for a handshake alternative is the ‘hang loose’ hand gesture, also known as the shaka. Tester apparently took the suggestion from his Democrat colleague in Hawaii, Brian Schatz.
Whether or not Montanans will replace the handshake with the ‘hang loose’ sign in a time of pandemic disease infection is yet to be seen. It seems like an odd suggestion in a state where a hat-tip or head-nod and smile already suffice for greetings in polite company.
Tester made the suggestion via his Twitter account on Tuesday.
It appears that Jon Tester is taking his own advice and “hanging loose” in regard to coronavirus prevention. Tester is a ranking member of the Veterans Affairs Committee (his most prominent post in the Senate), which only yesterday announced its definitive plans to combat the coronavirus, well behind civilian medical centers.
Only yesterday did Tester recommend to President Trump begin initiatives to help Montanans who are particularly vulnerable to the virus. However, his chief suggestion was pushing back the April 15 tax deadline. His colleague, Republican Steve Daines, appears to have had less of a ‘hang loose’ attitude and has been paying close attention to the virus’s potential spread into Montana for more than a month. Senator Daines has also been pressuring the Trump administration to lift tariffs on trade to stimulate the economy, which has suffered traumatic blows due to the illness.
In the meantime, coronavirus is getting closer to Montana. North Dakota announced its first case yesterday evening in the city of Minot, home to an airforce base. Wyoming also announced its first case yesterday. It is coming, and it’s unclear if Montanans will be hanging loose in the days to come.