What Exactly Does Social Distancing Really Mean?
The CDC defines social distancing as it applies to COVID-19 as “remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet) from others when possible.”
Note: This guidance is for people who are generally healthy. If you are at higher risk or have symptoms of illness, stay home and consult with your health care provider.
Social Distancing Tips
- Do not hug, shake hands, or high five. These actions can transmit a virus from person-to-person.
- Maintain a distance of approximately six feet from others when possible.
- Avoid mass gatherings and congregate settings. The CDC defines congregate settings as crowded public places where close contact with others may occur.
- Those who are at risk for more severe COVID-19 illness, such as older adults and persons with compromised immunity, should limit contact with others and be rigorous about social distancing and other protective measures
- Use good protective behaviors: wash your hands frequently using soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds; cover coughs and sneezes; stay away from others if you’re ill, and disinfect high-touch surfaces at home and work.
Small Group Gatherings
Should I Hold My Small Group Gathering? (Playdate, Book Clubs, Sleepovers)
Governor Ralph Northam issued a statewide Stay at Home Order that directs all Virginians to stay home except in extremely limited circumstances. Individuals may leave their residence for allowable travel, including to seek medical attention, work, care for family or household members, obtain goods and services like groceries, prescriptions, and others as outlined in Executive Order Fifty-Three, and engage in outdoor activity with strict social distancing requirements.
Remember to maintain social distancing (maintaining a distance of approximately six feet from others) if you do need to go out. Avoid public spaces, public activities, and group gatherings with 10 or more people.
Additionally, the CDC recommends that children should not have play dates or hang out with children from outside their household. See the blog post.
Should I Go to Work?
While many are able to work from home during the coronavirus pandemic, some people still must report to an office, store or job site to do their work.
Under the Virginia governor’s emergency orders, people are allowed to travel to and from work, and essential businesses, including construction and landscaping, and may continue to operate as long as they follow social distancing and any other applicable state and federal guidelines.
As they continue their work, both employees and employers can take steps to stay healthy and limit the spread of the coronavirus. And remember to follow good hygiene practices like frequent handwashing and cleaning of common surfaces.
If you are eligible to telework, plan your work and take-home materials and equipment that you will need.
Ways to Stay Engaged During Social Distancing
Social distancing can feel isolating and tedious but there are many activities in which you can engage while following good social distancing practices. Walk the dog, go for a hike, work or play in your yard, try out a new recipe, download books for yourself and your family from the library and check in on friends and neighbors.
If you get together with one or a few other people, choose a setting that is well-ventilated and offers enough space to maintain appropriate distance. And don’t forget all the other important behaviors to protect yourself and others.
Keep Your Neighborhood Healthy
With coronavirus impacts around us, there are many ways you can prepare yourself and family, but what about others around you? Whatever your housing situation, try and connect with neighbors so you can seek or give support how it may be needed.
A few ideas:
- First, in all interactions, follow proper social distancing protocols.
- Find out (and document) if anyone has specialized equipment or expertise that might help.
- Decide who will check/call elderly or disabled neighbors and their needs.
- Emergency response is one of the most important responsibilities of local government, but government alone can’t prepare/respond. Families, neighborhoods, businesses, houses of worship and many others in our large, diverse community should prepare, too.
- Our Community Emergency Response Guide features quick documents to help you and your neighbors prepare. Click on the links below to download a printable copy in multiple languages: