Safety Tip: Pick up a No Soliciting sign, at least for the duration of the Coronavirus pandemic

No Soliciting Sign

Considering purchasing a “No Soliciting” sign for your home and for the home of any relatives or loved ones who may have higher risk factors for COVID-19.

Last Thursday, our evening was interrupted by the doorbell, our three little dogs sounded the alarm, and we found a salesman at our door. He wasn’t wearing a mask, despite stopping at almost every house on our street (and who knows how many streets before and after ours).

Moments after he left, I purchased a “No Soliciting” sign for about six bucks. While I felt a little like an angry old man shouting at neighbors to stay off my lawn when I installed the sign (and by installed, I mean peeled off the adhesive tape on the back and stuck it to above my doorbell), a sign is a good idea, at least for now. Door-to-door sales is an awfully bad idea during a global pandemic.

While door-to-door solicitation is generally protected by the First Amendment, local ordinances may impose certain time, place, and manner restrictions. Many municipalities require a license for door-to-door soliciting, and some, including Normal Illinois, where I live, suspended solicitation licenses during the shelter-in-place order.

Despite the First Amendment rights of door-to-door salespeople, residents also have certain rights and can post a “No Soliciting” or “No Trespassing” sign. Most municipalities prohibit door-to-door salesmen from soliciting upon a property with a posted sign.

While a “No Soliciting” sign will not work in all cases, and police probably aren’t going to rush to you house with lights and sirens if a salesperson or missionary intent on saving your soul ignores your sign, it will serve as an effective deterrent, and may help you or a loved one avoid contracting COVID-19.

A “No Soliciting” sign is also a wise idea for aging relatives, even in the absence of the coronavirus pandemic, as there is a high correlation between door-to-door sales and  high-pressure tactics and con artists who prey on the elderly.

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