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COVID-19 and the importance of physical distancing

One of the best ways for us all to fight the spread of COVID-19 is to practise physical distancing and stay home.

What is physical distance?

Physical distance means leaving space between people. COVID-19 isn’t good at jumping, so when we leave space between ourselves and others it makes it much harder for the virus to spread.

The Australian Government recommendation is to leave 1.5 metres between you and other people, that’s about the length of a broomstick – or the width of a rhino!

When we stop the virus spreading, it means we have fewer people getting sick all at once. Fewer sick people means our health system is better able to cope with the number of people who need care.

Physical distance is not emotional distance

This could be a time when your family gets even closer, or it could be a time of enormous stress. It’s probably going to be both.

It’s okay if you do not feel like you’re coping. Stay in contact with friends and family by text, phone and video calling. 

If you need more support, Beyond Blue has a special COVID-19 mental wellbeing support service, coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au

You can call 1800 512 348, 24 hours a day, or join in their online forums to talk about the things that matter to you.

It’s for outside your home

It’s important to remember that physical distance applies to people who don’t live in your house, unless they are sick or they’ve been overseas in the last 14 days. 

And it’s not emotional distance. You can chat with friends and family – from a distance, on the phone or online – as often as you like. In fact, that’s extra important right now. 

Physical distancing is hard for everyone. It’s more important than ever to reach out to people to show you care, while keeping your distance.

Especially for the vulnerable
We all need to take extra around vulnerable people such as older Australians (65+) and those who are immune compromised, which includes people undergoing cancer treatment. 
Wash your hands, avoid touching your face and leave a minimum 1.5 metre physical distance: it’s especially important for vulnerable people.

Physical distance – for parents

As the parent, you’re the model who shows your kids how we should all be behaving. It’s important not to go out unless it’s completely necessary.

The Government guidance is to leave your home only to:
•    shop for food and essential items
•    exercise, in a group of no more than two people and maintaining physical distance
•    work or study, if you cannot work or study from home, or you’re in an essential role
•    attend medical appointments or go to the chemist
•    provide support to someone in a place that’s not your home.

You need to keep visitors to a minimum and regularly disinfect areas that get a lot of touching – door knobs, kitchen benches, tables and the backs of chairs. 

Physical distance – for kids

YesNo
Making video calls with family and friends  Play dates
Playing with people who live at your house (as long as they’re healthy and haven’t been overseas in the last 14 days)Having a party
Trying out a new hobby (like gardening or painting) Going to a play centre or a playground
Playing board games at home  Taking part in sports teams or dance classes
Learning a new skill (like cooking or programming)     
Creating a new art project     
Going outside for a walk or a bike ride      
Read a book 

Physical distance – for teens

 

YesNo
Video calling with friendsHanging out a friend’s house
Spending time with people who live at your house (as long as they’re healthy and haven’t been overseas in the last 14 days)Sleepovers
Going outside for a run or a bike ride, and maintaining 1.5 metres between you and othersGoing to a shopping centre
Watching movies and playing video games Catching up with friends for coffee in person
Helping out with chores around the house  Sharing food, drinks, cigarettes or make up
Reorganising or redecorating your room like you’ve always wanted – with permission Training or team sport
Reading a book or magazine  
If you have Netflix, getting together with friends using Netflix Party to chat and watch something simultaneously      
Learning a new activity or skill like drawing or dancing