Staying away from other people is hard for us social creatures. That's why one Quebec company has created a social distancing device that alerts you when you need to take a step back from the person in front of you. The new tool, called the Distanceur Alerte 2, by Alco Prevention Canada could be especially useful for businesses that serve the public, like cafés, restaurants, retail stores, and hotels, the company says.

The simple device serves as a reminder to obey public health rules. It's a discreet sign showing two figures separated by an arrow. 

The sign is green when the person standing in front of it is an adequate distance away from the person on the other side of the sign.

It turns red when they need to back off.

The sign gets even angrier when faced with more serious transgressions, flashing red when someone steps within one metre of the other person. There's even an option for it to emit an audible alert.

In a statement, Alco Prevention Canada Executive Director Stéphane Maurais suggested that the device could help stores regulate traffic and give employees a way to avoid confrontations with customers.

"It is a simple and courteous means of enforcing the distancing order and provides a pleasant and warmer environment," he said.

A video posted to YouTube shows just how the sign works. The video also states that IKEA already makes use of the tool.

"The Distanceur Alerte 2 gives humanity the means to gather, exactly at the right distance, not by creating physical barriers, but by preserving consciousness, bringing vigilance and offering a third eye that respects the distancing order," the company stated.

"In this time of pandemic, society has lost its handshakes, hugs and the encouraging hand on the shoulder... but it will never lose its dignity."

The sign is available for purchase for CA$349.95 on the Alco Prevention Canada website.

As Quebec Premier François Legault scolds Quebecers for what he sees as a general "relaxing" of their discipline and less staunch adhesion to public health rules, this sign could be just the thing to help customers snap back to the habits they developed at the peak of the health crisis.

Now if only Alco Prevention Canada made personal units...

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