Physical distancing is proven to be one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of illness during an outbreak. Together, we can slow the spread of COVID-19 by making a conscious effort to keep a physical distance between each other. With patience and cooperation, we can all do our part.
What does Physical Distancing mean?
Physical distancing involves taking steps to limit the number of people you come into close contact with. Avoiding close contact with other people helps prevent the spread of illnesses, such as COVID-19, by keeping the density of people low.
Physical distancing means making changes in your everyday routines in order to minimize close contact with others. Even though individuals are separated physically, it is still important to stay connected socially through other means, such as phone calls, social media, or other digital means.
As part of reopening, the Ontario government announced that people can get together with people outside of their household by creating social circles. A social circle is made up of up to 10 family and friends that you can interact with without physical distancing and can touch, hug, etc. This is different than social gatherings, which can be with up to 10 people outside of your household/social circle, but you must maintain physical distancing at all times. For more details on both of these options, visit the Safer Socialization page.
How to Practice Physical Distancing
- Keep your close contacts to those in your social circle. If you decide to meet up with others outside of your social circle.
- Keep the visit outside.
- Always stay 2 metres (6 feet) apart.
- Have no more than 10 people in the group.
- Do not visit anyone who is not feeling well or if you are ill yourself.
- Wear a mask or face covering if you are around people who may be at higher risk for illness (i.e. older adults, people with compromised immune systems).
- Keep a distance of at least 2 metres (6 feet) from others, as much as possible. Whenever it is difficult to maintain a safe distance, wear a non-medical mask or face covering to create a barrier between your respiratory droplets and the people and surfaces around you.
- Limit gatherings to 10 people or less (this is part of Ontario’s Emergency Order and is enforceable by law).
- Stay away from places where there are higher numbers of people. Have a plan B if where you are going is busy.
- Shop for groceries, medicines and other supplies once per week or less, and go alone if possible.
- Use food delivery services or online shopping.
- Work from home when possible and conduct virtual meetings.
- Greet with a wave or head nod instead of a handshake, kiss or hug with those outside of your social circle.
- Use technology to keep in touch with friends and family outside of your social circle and for virtual play dates for children.
- Take public transportation during off-peak hours if you’re able. Choose to walk or bike to your destination, if possible.
- Continue to follow all Infection Prevention and Control measures.
Remember: While you may not feel sick, and while we know these measures are an inconvenience, please be mindful of the members of our community who are more vulnerable to COVID-19 than others.
Mental Health while Physical Distancing
Visit our Mental Health webpage for some great suggestions to take care of your mental health while physical distancing.
- Physical Distancing Factsheet - Public Health Ontario
- Physical Distancing Sign (General) (English PDF)
- Physical Distancing Sign (General) (French PDF)
- Physical Distancing Sign (In Line) (English PDF)
- Physical Distancing Sign (In Line) (French PDF)
- Physical Distancing Sign (Restaurants/ Take Out) (English PDF)
- Physical Distancing Sign (Restaurants/ Take Out) (French PDF)
- Physical Distancing - Elevators (English PDF)
- Physical Distancing - Elevators (French PDF)
- COVID-19: Stop the Spread of Germs (English PDF)
- COVID-19: Stop the Spread of Germs (French PDF)