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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-meeting-with-others-safely-social-distancing/coronavirus-covid-19-meeting-with-others-safely-social-distancing
This is guidance that applies to England only. You should follow social distancing guidance in all local COVID alert levels. There are also additional restrictions in place for each local COVID alert level which you should be aware of. You can use the postcode search tool to check the alert level of your local area.
It is critical that everybody observes the following key behaviours:
- HANDS - Wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds.
- FACE - Wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
- SPACE - Stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings or increasing ventilation indoors).
To reduce the risk of catching or spreading coronavirus, try to keep at least 2 metres away from people you do not live with. Social distancing is essential to stop the spread of the virus, as it is more likely to spread when people are close together. An infected person can pass on the virus even if they do not have any symptoms, through talking, breathing, coughing or sneezing.
When with people you do not live with, you should also avoid: physical contact; being close and face-to-face; and shouting or singing close to them. You should also avoid crowded areas with lots of people; and touching things that other people have touched.
Where you cannot stay 2 metres apart you should stay more than 1 metre apart, as well as taking extra steps to stay safe. For example:
- wear a face covering: on public transport and in many indoor spaces, you must wear a face covering by law, unless you are exempt
- move outdoors, where it is safer and there is more space
- if indoors, make sure rooms are well ventilated by keeping windows and doors open
You do not need to socially distance from anyone in your household, meaning the people you live with. You also do not need to socially distance from anyone in your legally-permitted support bubble if you are in one, or someone you’re in an established relationship with. If in the early stages of a relationship, you should take particular care to follow the guidance on social distancing.
When providing care to a young child, or person with a disability or health condition who is not in your household or support bubble, it may not always be possible or practicable to maintain social distancing. You should still limit close contact as much as possible when providing these types of care, and take other precautions such as washing hands and opening windows for ventilation.