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Q&A: Everything you need to know about social-distancing

Q&A: Everything you need to know about social-distancing

Friday 20 March 2020

Q&A: Everything you need to know about social-distancing


All islanders have been told to follow the principles of social distancing - a move the Government said was "crucial" to prevent the spread of corona virus in the island - but if you are unsure what exactly that implies they have answered a series of questions.

Social distancing means limiting contact with people outside your household as far as you can and has now been extended to the whole population following the advice of the Medical Officer of Health.

What is social distancing?

Social distancing means everyone in Jersey should observe the following principles strictly:

  • Reduce contact with people outside your household
  • Keep a distance of at least two metres (6 feet) between you and other people when outside your own home
  • Avoid public gatherings and all venues and businesses where social distancing is not obviously possible or promoted by the venue
  • Stay home whenever possible, including working and studying from home whenever it is possible to do so 
  • Reduce to essential travel only, and practice social distancing if you need to use public transport. 

Social distancing and self-isolation are not the same. While you are practicing distancing, you can still go out, get fresh air, do your gardening, and walk your dog along a quiet lane. 

However if you are self-isolating, you need to avoid any contact with others and remain in a physically isolated space so that you cannot transmit infection to others.

Why is extending social distancing crucial?

"Social distancing is a crucial part of our strategy to prevent COVID-19 from spreading within Jersey, especially to older and vulnerable people. Social distancing is the most effective way to reduce the rate of infection, and therefore the impact of the disease as well as demand on our health services. 

Social distancing is one of several critical measures that contribute to the strategic goal to contain, delay and shield our island from COVID-19, alongside rigorous hygiene measures, self-isolation for symptomatic individuals, off-island travel restrictions, school closures and robust community testing.

The more people who adopt social distancing alongside the hygiene advice already available, the better our chances of flattening the curve, preventing the spread of coronavirus and protecting those who are vulnerable."

househomedoormatshoes.jpeg

Pictured: Islanders are being told to keep two metres away from others outside their home.

At home

Can I mix with the people who live in my house?

Yes. However, if someone else in the house is self-isolating you must stay away from them and they must stay away from you. 

Can I take my dog for a walk?

Yes, if you keep at least two metres away from anyone else. 

Can trades people come to my home if essential repairs are needed?

Yes, if they are not displaying any flu-like symptoms (a continuous cough and fever) and you keep at least two metres away from them while they are in your home. 

table restaurant dinner

Pictured: Islanders need to maintain distances even in restaurants.

Socialising

Can I still celebrate Mother’s Day with lunch at a restaurant?

If you choose to go to the restaurant, you should be confident that it has put in place measures to guarantee that customers and staff are able to maintain a distance of at least two metres from each other.

Can I go to my parents’ house?

For anyone over 65, we are already advising limiting unnecessary contact. 

If the visit is essential or your parents are under 65, then you can visit as long as they are not displaying flu-like symptoms and you keep at least two metres away from them. Be sure to maintain very regular contact with friends and family by phone, FaceTime and social media throughout this period.

Can I go to my parents’ or friends’ house and sit in the garden with them?

You can visit if none of you are displaying flu-like symptoms and you keep two metres away from each other while in the garden. Minimise time inside the house.

Be sure to keep in contact with friends and family by phone and social media throughout this period.

Can I meet friends at their home?

Due to the current advice on social distancing, we advise you avoid entering other households. If you need to visit a friend, you must ensure that the occupants are not displaying any flu-like symptoms and maintain a distance of two metres from them and limit the duration of stay. 

groceries

Pictured: If neighbours need groceries delivered, it is advised to leave them outside the door.

Can I drop off groceries to my elderly neighbour?

Yes - indeed this sort of community support is welcome. But keep at least two metres away from them. It is strongly advised that you leave the groceries at your neighbour’s door, if possible, and do not enter the property.

Can I help others in my community?

Yes, islanders are encouraged to help vulnerable members of our community. We want you to stay safe as you do so – so please follow social distancing principles.

If you undertake voluntary work that helps support directly the health and wellbeing of vulnerable Islanders, it may be considered essential work and so please speak to your volunteer coordinator and refer to our guidance for essential workers on gov.je.

Can my child go on a playdate?

The safest way for children to play would be outdoors while maintaining social distancing. Please refer to our existing guidance for parents and carers, which is in line with current advice on social distancing.

Playgrounds, slides and swings occupy a relatively small space and provide a huge number of touch points, so exercise away from playgrounds is much safer. 

childrenplaytimetoys.jpg

Pictured: Playdates are not recommended - the safest way for children to play is to be outdoors while maintaining social distancing.

Can I go to a church service?

Due to the current advice on social distancing, it is advised that you stay away from places where you would expect to be in close contact with others.

Can I go to the cinema or the bowling alley?

Due to the current advice on social distancing, it is advised that you stay away from places where you would be in close contact with others.

 Work

If you can work from home, you should do so. Your employer may put in place social distancing measures to enable you to continue to work from your usual workplace. Discuss your options with your employer. 

On-Island travel

You should significantly limit your travel on Island, for example:

  • Travel to essential work that cannot be postponed, and cannot be done from home
  • Shopping for groceries and other essential items 
  • Travel for important family reasons, such as looking after children and the elderly
  • Outings to get some exercise alone or in a very small group observing social distancing or take pets for a walk 
  • All health-related appointments, including trips to the pharmacy.
  • You can go for a drive in your car with other members of your household as long as you limit contact with anyone from outside of your household.

If taking public transport, try to maintain a distance of at least 1 metre between and other passengers. And pay using a card whenever possible - all Jersey buses and taxis accept contactless or card payments.

handwash

Pictured: Islanders should wash their hands after any type of travel.

Following any type of travel, you should practice good hand hygiene to reduce the spread of COVID-19. 

If you need to use a bus or taxi, for example to buy essential food supplies, you should ensure that you keep at least 1 metre from anyone else. All Jersey busses and taxis accept contactless or card payments. 

Leisure and exercise

It’s important to stay active and well. Exercise wherever you can be confident you can stay two metres from anyone else. 

If you choose to go to the gym, you should be confident that your gym has put in place measures to guarantee that customers and staff are able to maintain a distance of at least two metres from each other, and that you and they maintain very good hygiene. 

Likewise, if you choose to go for a swim in the sea or in a pool, you should ensure you can maintain your from anyone else. You should only visit indoor pools if arrangements have been put in place to guarantee distancing. 

Consider alternative forms of exercise.

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Pictured: "Getting outside on the beach or in our woods and countryside is a great way to exercise."

Can I go to the beach, woods and countryside?

Yes. Getting outside on the beach or in our woods and countryside is a great way to exercise and stay well while practicing social distancing. You should ensure you stay two metres from others at all times.

Can I go out on my boat?

Yes, but we advise you do not take any people outside of your household with you. 

Shopping

Can I pick up a takeaway?

Yes, but due to the current advice on social distancing, we recommend that you avoid queuing with other people. But where you can collect a takeaway while staying two metres or more apart from others you can do so.

take_away.jpg

Pictured: If you pick up a takeaway, avoid queuing with other people.

You can also receive takeaway deliveries at your home as long as you keep at least two metres away from the delivery person. It is recommended that you pre-pay for your delivery.

Can I buy food, household supplies, fuel and medicines?

Yes, you can pick up essential supplies and medicines but should keep at least two metres away from anyone else. Where you can, try and support a range of Jersey businesses through these difficult times. 

You should avoid going into shops unless your purchase is important. 

Can I collect parcels from the Post Office?

Due to the current advice on social distancing, you should only go to the Post Office if the collection is essential and you should ensure you can maintain a distance of 1 metre from anyone else.

Can I still go to my hairdresser’s appointment?

Due to the current advice on social distancing, it is highly recommended that you postpone your appointment.

Can I use public toilets when I am away from my home?

We advise to avoid publicly accessible toilets and bathrooms at this time. Try to remember to use the toilet before heading out for fresh air or essential supplies. 

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Pictured: Routine appointments to see a dentist or hygienist should be postponed. 

Health 

Can I go to the dentist?

Yes, you can visit your dentist for emergency treatment. Routine appointments to see a dentist or hygienist should be postponed. 

Can I give blood?

Yes, appointments will continue to be sent out but phone the donor service the day before the appointment to confirm.  

More advice on social distancing is available on the Government website

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Comments

Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.

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Posted by M J on
Should I still send my child to the childminder? It isn’t clear on GOJ website?
Posted by Michael Du Pré on
Dog walkers: consider that someone patting you dog without gloves on might transfer the virus or even possibly dogs playing with each other may also do so. I wipe my dog with a wipe on my return just to be on the safe side. You can’t be too careful!
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