Physical distancing: How to slow the spread of COVID-19

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

If possible,

  • use food delivery services or online shopping
  • exercise at home or outside
  • work from home

Remember to

  • wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds and avoid touching your face
  • cough or sneeze into the bend of your arm
  • avoid touching surfaces people touch often
  • self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 including:
    • cough
    • fever
    • difficulty breathing

If you’re concerned you may have COVID-19

  • separate yourself from others as soon as you have symptoms
  • if you are outside the home when a symptom develops, go home immediately and avoid taking public transit
  • stay home and follow the advice of your Public Health Authority, who may recommend isolation
  • call ahead to a health care provider if you are ill and seeking medical attention

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. made with at least two layers of tightly woven fabric, 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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