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Hastings and Prince Edward Public Health
Social Distancing

What is Physical Distancing?

In order to decrease transmission of COVID-19 in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties, Hastings Prince Edward Public Health is recommending that all residents practise physical distancing.

Physical distancing is replacing the term “social distancing” as the goal is to take steps to limit the number of people you come into physical contact with while maintaining social connection virtually by phone and other technology. Not everyone or every business can practise perfect physical distancing, but there are ways to reduce the risk of infectious disease transmission for employees, customers, clients, and service users.

Confused by the difference between self-quarantine, self-isolation and physical distancing? You’re not alone. These definitions have been evolving as we learn more about COVID-19 and enhance measures to fight its spread.

Physical distancing includes, but is not limited to:

  • Talking to your supervisor, manager, or employer about the possibility of working from home where possible.
  • Avoiding sending children to daycare.
  • Avoiding visits to long-term care homes, retirement homes, supportive housing, hospices and other congregate care settings unless the visit is absolutely essential.
  • Avoiding non-essential trips in the community.
    • If you have to go into the community for an essential trip via taxi or ride-share, be sure to keep the windows down.
  • Cancelling group gatherings or limiting them to no more than 5 people while maintaining at least 2 metres between people.
  • Hosting virtual meetings and social interactions instead of in-person events.

At this time, you are advised to avoid all unnecessary excursions or visitors.

If you must leave your home/property for an essential trip or because you are a designated essential worker:

  • Avoid crowded areas.
  • Maintain a distance of 2 metres from those around you at all times.
  • Do not touch your face.
  • Wash your hands immediately and thoroughly upon return to your home or workplace. 

Remember: While you may not feel sick, and these measures are an inconvenience, please be mindful of the members of our community who are more vulnerable to COVID-19 than others. We are all in this together.

Adapted with permission from Ottawa Public Health.


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1) Our offices are temporarily closed to the public to allow us to respond to COVID-19 demands. However, phone lines remain open. The COVID-19 information line is operating 7 days a week (excluding statutory holidays) from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. All other program lines are operating Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

2) Returning travellers must self-isolate for 14 days and contact Public Health if symptoms of COVID-19 develop.

If you have returned from travel anywhere outside of Canada, you must self-isolate for 14 days and immediately contact Public Health or your local health care provider if you develop symptoms of COVID-19. Earlier this month all travellers were asked to self-isolated when they returned to Canada. Effective March 25, the federal government made this isolation mandatory under the Quarantine Act to better protect our most vulnerable citizens. Each of us must make the responsible decision to follow the advice of health authorities. It’s in everyone’s best interest to do everything we can to stop the spread of COVID-19.