Physical distancing (social distancing) (COVID-19)
In light of the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic, Public Health Sudbury & Districts is recommending we all do our part and follow physical distancing (social distancing) guidelines.
Gatherings and closures: guidance
The Government of Ontario has prohibited all large events and public gatherings of over 5 people (as of March 28, 2020). Organizers who have questions about exceptions are encouraged to contact Public Health Sudbury & Districts.
The community is asked to recognize the risk of attending public gatherings and to practise physical distancing as much as possible until further notice to manage the spread of illness.
- Organizations that can take advantage of virtual options to continue providing services are strongly encouraged to do so.
- For up-to-date information on school closures visit the Ministry of Education website.
- For information about community events or services impacted by COVID-19, please consult your local municipality or individual event organizers of service providers.
What is physical distancing (social distancing)
Physical distancing means limiting the number of people you come into close contact with and distancing from each other to reduce the opportunity for the virus to spread from person to person.
We all need to do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19. It’s vital we all follow guidelines:
- DO stay home unless essential to do otherwise
- DO connect with others, only virtually
- DO keep two metres distance from others when out
- DO go for a walk
- DO postpone or cancel even small gatherings
- DO keep kids away from any group settings, even playdates
- DO stay away from long-term care or other care settings
- DON’T put yourself or others at risk!
Why is physical distancing important
When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the novel coronavirus, if the person coughing has the disease (COVID-19) (WHO, 2019). COVID-19 can also be spread via direct contact with surfaces that are potentially contaminated with the virus. Practicing physical distancing slows the spread! A reminder that physical distancing applies to everyone. Let’s all do our part to protect our health care system and vulnerable populations. Stay healthy. Stop the spread. Flatten the curve.
How to practice physical distancing
Avoid crowded spaces and stay two metres apart from others when you will be in public areas.
- Avoid shopping at peak hours.
- Keep up-to-date with current closures.
- Avoid physical contact with others (for example, no handshakes).
- Ask your employer about options to work from home, if possible. If you have meetings planned, conduct them virtually instead of in person.
- When spending time outside, maintain a two-metre (6 feet) of distance from each other.
Key recommendations to protect the most vulnerable include:
- If you are experiencing symptoms, or if you are not experiencing symptoms, but have had close contact with a confirmed case, stay home.
- If you have travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days, you are asked to self-isolate for 14 days. (The exception is for workers who are part of workplaces that are essential to daily living. These individuals are asked to self-monitor for 14 days.)
- If you begin to feel unwell (fever, new cough, or difficulty breathing) you are being asked to return home, self-isolate and seek clinical assessment over the phone.
- Limiting contact with vulnerable individuals, such as those who are at higher risk of negative health impacts (individuals who are ill or have poor health, elderly people, etc.). For example, avoid visits to long-term care homes, retirement homes, supportive housing, hospices, and other congregate care settings unless your visit is essential. Vulnerable individuals should also limit their exposure to crowded places.
- If you are over 70 years of age or immunocompromised, you are advised to self-isolate for 14 days.
- Separating from others and, if you are at higher risk, avoiding contact with those who might be more likely to transmit the disease, such as small children.
These guidelines do NOT mean “you must stay in your home.” Physical distancing does not have to mean social isolation. Connecting with others using the key points above means that you can safely interact with others, if even virtually. For example, you can connect using technology or go outside to take a walk.
The current circumstances, which for many include significant disruption to their daily lives, can be very stressful and can impact our mental health. There are a number of strategies that you can consider to support your mental health.
This item was last modified on March 31, 2020