Physical distancing: How to slow the spread of COVID-19
Organization: Public Health Agency of Canada
Date published: 2020-04-15
- Physical distancing: Actions for reducing the spread of COVID-19
- How to quarantine (self-isolate) at home when you may have been exposed to COVID-19 and have no symptoms
- How to isolate at home when you may have COVID-19
- Physical distancing works to stop the spread of COVID-19
- Physical distancing: Keep 2 metres apart
Together, we can slow the spread of COVID-19 by making a conscious effort to keep a physical distance between each other. Physical distancing is proven to be one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of illness during an outbreak. With patience and cooperation, we can all do our part.
What does physical distancing mean
This means making changes in your everyday routines in order to minimize close contact with others, including:
- avoiding crowded places and gatherings
- avoiding common greetings, such as handshakes
- limiting contact with people at higher risk (e.g. older adults and those in poor health)
- keeping a distance of at least 2 arms lengths (approximately 2 metres) from others, as much as possible
Here's how you can practise physical distancing:
- greet with a wave instead of a handshake, a kiss or a hug
- stay home as much as possible, including for meals and entertainment
- grocery shop once per week
- take public transportation during off-peak hours
- conduct virtual meetings
- host virtual playdates for your kids
- use technology to keep in touch with friends and family
- use food delivery services or online shopping
- exercise at home or outside
- work from home
Note: Some people may transmit COVID-19 even though they do not show any symptoms. In situations where physical distancing is difficult to maintain, wearing a non-medical mask or face covering (i.e. constructed to completely cover the nose and mouth without gaping, and secured to the head by ties or ear loops) provides a barrier between your respiratory droplets and the people and surfaces around you. It may also stop you from touching your nose or mouth, which is another way the virus can get into your body.
Note: The Government of Canada has implemented an Emergency Order under the Quarantine Act. This order means that everyone who is entering Canada by air, sea or land has to stay home for 14 days in order to limit the spread of COVID-19. The 14-day period begins on the day you enter Canada.
- If you have travelled and have no symptoms, you must quarantine (self-isolate).
- If you have travelled and have symptoms, you must isolate.
For more information: Canada.ca/coronavirus 1-833-784-4397
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