Social distancing: what you need to do

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3 years ago

To stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), you should avoid close contact with anyone you do not live with.

This is called social distancing.


There is separate advice:

How to avoid spreading the infection

It's very important to do what you can to reduce the risk of you and other people getting ill with coronavirus.

You can spread the virus even if you do not have symptoms.


  • try to stay at least 2 metres (3 steps) away from anyone you do not live with (or anyone not in your support bubble)

  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds

  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available

  • wash your hands as soon as you get home

  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze

  • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards


  • do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

Read more about staying safe outside your home on GOV.UK.

Face coverings

If you can, wear something that covers your nose and mouth in places where it's hard to stay away from other people.

There are some places where you must wear a face covering, such as:

  • on public transport

  • in shops

  • when you go to hospital appointments or visit someone in hospital


Some people should not wear face coverings, such as children under 3 and people with breathing difficulties.

For more information, see when to wear face coverings and how to make your own on GOV.UK.

Things you can and cannot do

The government has published guidance on what you can and cannot do outside your home.

This includes guidance about when you can leave your home, seeing other people and going to work.

If you live in an area with an outbreak

If you live, work or study in an area where there is a coronavirus outbreak, the advice for you may be different.

See areas with local restrictions on GOV.UK.

Support bubbles

If you live alone or you’re a single parent who lives alone with your children, you can meet with 1 other household without social distancing.

This is called a support bubble.

Find out more about meeting people from outside your household on GOV.UK.

Looking after your health and wellbeing

To help yourself stay well:

  • get plenty of exercise

  • consider taking 10 micrograms of vitamin D each day if you're indoors most of the day – this is to keep your bones and muscles healthy

  • try to quit smoking – smoking can make you more likely to get infections like coronavirus and become seriously ill

  • eat a healthy balanced diet


Advice on mental health:

If you need medical help

It's important to get medical help if you need it, especially if you feel very unwell or think there's something seriously wrong.

If you're advised to go to hospital, it's important to go. Keep going to any appointments you usually have, unless you're told not to.

Read about using the NHS and other health services during coronavirus.

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Avatar for Shienna
3 years ago