What’s the difference between social distancing, self-isolation and shielding?

Self-isolation, social distancing and shielding have been introduced by the Government to help you and your loved ones stay safe from COVID-19. Find out what they mean in practice and what applies to you.

What is social distancing?

Social distancing refers to limiting face-to-face contact with others as much as possible. The Government’s most up to date advice can be found here.

To protect yourself and others, when you leave home you must:

  • wash hands – keep washing your hands regularly and for 20 seconds
  • cover face – wear a face covering over your nose and mouth in enclosed spaces
  • make space – stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions (such as wearing face coverings or increasing ventilation indoors)

If you are feeling unwell, get a test and do not leave home for at least 10 days.

Read more on what you can and cannot do.

Should I be social distancing?

Yes, everyone should be social distancing from anyone not in your household or support bubble until the Government instructs otherwise. You should also try to maintain social distancing if providing informal childcare within a childcare bubble.

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Easy read guide on social distancing

Take a look at the easy read guide on social distancing: Keeping away from other people: new rules to follow from 23 March 2020.

Go to easy read

 

Healthwatch England – Last updated on 5 January 2021