The rules and issues around the COVID-19 pandemic continue to evolve and information changes consistently. Please take note of when our content was written and always go to the sources we’ve provided for the most current guidance.
We know that most people are doing their best to protect themselves and those around them from COVID-19 by following the advice of government and health authorities. However, we’ve been seeing some common myths, especially surrounding physical distancing guidelines. To help you to stay safe, today we’re checking some of these misconceptions with the information provided by Dr. Bonnie Henry and the BC CDC.
First, a reminder on physical distancing:
Here’s a refresher on what the Government of Canada recommends to support physical distancing:
- Stay home as much as you can.
- Avoid non-essential trips in your community (use delivery services or online shopping when you are able).
- Talk to your employer about working from home, if possible.
- At this time, you can still go for walks, but stay close to home and maintain physical distance.
- Keep a distance of 2 meters (6 feet) from others
- Avoid common greetings like handshakes.
- Avoid crowded places and non-essential gatherings.
- Limit contact with people at higher risk (i.e. older adults and those with underlying health conditions).
As always, you should also practice proper hand hygiene, cough and sneeze into an elbow or tissue and avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
Also, check out our guide to physical distancing:
Some common misconceptions debunked:
You can find answers to the following questions (and more) on the BC CDC’s Common Questions page.
If none of us feel sick, is it safe to get together?
People can be asymptomatic (show no symptoms) and carry the virus without knowing it. Some people become infectious and transmit the virus before they show symptoms, and some people may carry the virus but never show symptoms at all. Just because you don’t feel sick doesn’t mean you, or your companions, are in the clear. At this time, it’s best to avoid all unnecessary social interactions.
Is it safe to just have a few people over?
The short answer is “no.” It only takes one infectious person to spread COVID-19 to the whole group, and as above, you may not even know if you are infectious. The virus can be spread in groups regardless of size. Especially if everyone is continuing to see just a few people, the virus will have ample opportunity to continue to spread from person to person, and from group to group.
Can I meet up with a friend for a walk?
Limiting any unnecessary face-to-face physical interactions with people outside of your household is important for stopping the spread of COVID-19. 2 metres may be more than you think; plus, it’s difficult to maintain 2 metres distance between yourself, your companion and everyone else on a trail. It’s best not to risk it.
What you can do instead:
- Give a friend a call.
- Get together virtually (i.e. over video conference).
- Go on a walk with the people living with you (while adhering to physical distancing guidelines).
We know this is a difficult time for everyone, and it can be our first impulse to connect with others to cope. Do continue to connect with your community—just make sure you’re using ways to connect that respect physical distancing guidelines (i.e. lean on technology). Although it can be difficult, continuing to practice physical distancing is an essential part of flattening the curve so we can keep our loved ones and the most vulnerable safe.
To those who are physical distancing champions—we offer a virtual high-five and our thanks!
Did you like this? You might like these posts too!
- The Canada Emergency Response Benefit: what you need to know
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- Talking to kids about COVID-19
- COVID-19: 3 ways to politely tell people to keep their distance
Where do we fit in?
Yes, we are a provincial regulator. We are responsible for some very specific transactions in BC. We aren’t experts on COVID-19. We won’t – and shouldn’t – ever give medical or legal advice. But we are in a unique circumstance right now and we want to help people navigate the current reality. We don’t have all the answers, but we will do our best to share information from reliable sources, put it in ways that are easy to digest and understand, provide referrals and help you navigate this situation.
About Consumer Protection BC:
We are responsible for regulating specific industries and certain consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.