Social distancing measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic

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This article is a summary of the social distancing measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Background[edit]

Social distancing, or physical distancing,[1][2][3] is a set of non-pharmaceutical interventions or measures taken to prevent the spread of a contagious disease by maintaining a physical distance between people and reducing the number of times people come into close contact with each other.[1][4] It involves keeping a distance of six feet or two meters from others and avoiding gathering together in large groups.[5][6]

During the current COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing and related measures were emphasised by several governments as alternatives to an enforced quarantine of heavily affected areas. According to UNESCO monitoring, more than a hundred countries have implemented nationwide school closures in response to COVID-19, impacting over half the world's student population.[7] In the United Kingdom, the government advised the public to avoid public spaces, and cinemas and theatres voluntarily closed to encourage the government's message.[8]

With many people disbelieving that COVID-19 is any worse than the seasonal flu,[9] it has been difficult to convince the public—especially teens and young adults—to voluntarily adopt social distancing practices. In Belgium, media reported a rave was attended by at least 300 before it was broken up by local authorities. In France, teens making nonessential trips are fined up to US$150. Beaches were closed in Florida and Alabama to disperse partygoers during spring break.[10] Weddings were broken up in New Jersey and an 8 p.m. curfew was imposed in Newark. New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania were the first states to adopt coordinated social distancing policies which closed down non-essential businesses and restricted large gatherings. Shelter in place orders in California were extended to the entire state on 19 March. On the same day Texas declared a public disaster and imposed statewide restrictions.[11]

These preventive measures such as social-distancing and self-isolation prompted the widespread closure of primary, secondary, and post-secondary schools in more than 120 countries. As of 23 March 2020, more than 1.2 billion learners were out of school due to school closures in response to COVID-19.[7] Given low rates of COVID-19 symptoms among children, the effectiveness of school closures has been called into question.[12] Even when school closures are temporary, it carries high social and economic costs.[13] However, the significance of children in spreading COVID-19 is unclear.[14][15] While the full impact of school closures during the coronavirus pandemic are not yet known, UNESCO advises that school closures have negative impacts on local economies and on learning outcomes for students.[16]

In early March 2020, the sentiment "Stay The Fuck Home" was coined by Florian Reifschneider, a German engineer and was quickly echoed by notable celebrities such as Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande[17][18] and Busy Philipps[19] in hopes of reducing and delaying the peak of the outbreak. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram also joined the campaign with similar hashtags, stickers and filters under #staythefhome, #stayhome, #staythefuckhome and began trending across social media.[20][21][22][23] The website claims to have reached about two million people online and says the text has been translated into 17 languages.[23]

Afghanistan[edit]

Australia[edit]

Social distancing signs at shops in Brisbane.
  • 20 March: Restrictions on non-essential events.[25]
    • Non-essential indoor gatherings of greater than 100 people banned.
    • Outdoor events with more than 500 attendees banned.
  • 22 March: Restrictions on social gatherings and 'non-essential' businesses.[25]
    • Facilities restricted from opening: Pubs, registered and licensed clubs (excluding bottle shops attached to these venues), hotels (excluding accommodation); gyms and indoor sporting venues; cinemas, entertainment venues, casinos, and nightclubs; restaurants and cafes were limited to takeaway and/or home delivery; religious gatherings, places of worship or funerals (in enclosed spaces and other than very small groups and where the ‘1 person per 4sqm’ (40 sq. ft.) rule applies).
  • 29 March: Restriction on public gatherings to two people.[25]

China[edit]

  • 23 January: Travel from Wuhan prohibited.[25]
  • 29 January: People ordered to stay home unless necessary.[25]
  • 4 February: all higher education moved online.[25]

Denmark[edit]

  • 13 March: All non-essential public services closed, including schools and day cares.[25]
  • 17 March: Gatherings of more than 10 people banned.[25]

Germany[edit]

  • 16 March: Non-essential public services closed.[25]
  • 22 March: Public gatherings banned.[25] Curfews (with exceptions for certain essential activities) implemented in 5 of the 16 federal states. Entry-ban for non-residents (including German citizens with residence in another federal state) implemented in an additional 2 of the 16 federal states.[26][27]

Indonesia[edit]

Muslims in Indonesia pray in congregation while imposing to strict protocols during the global pandemic. Physical distancing and the wearing of masks in public is mandatory in Indonesia during the Covid-19 outbreak, including in places of worship
  • 15 March: President Joko Widodo has called upon for all Indonesians to exercise social distancing measures, with some regional leaders who have already closed down schools and public places.[28] In a statement the following day, he stated that he was not going for a full lockdown and lightly criticised regional leaders who did implement lockdown.[29]
  • 31 March: President Joko Widodo signed the Government Law Regulation No. 21/2020, which regulated large-scale social restrictions (PSBB), allowing regional governments to restrict the movement of people and goods in and out of their respective localities provided they had received permission from the relevant ministry (in this case the Ministry of Health, under Terawan Putranto). The law also defined a "minimal" restriction as including school and work holidays, limitations on physical worship, and limitations on public gatherings. At the same time, Presidential Decision 11/2020 was also signed, declaring a national disaster. Both laws were based on the Law No. 6 of 2018 on Medical Quarantines, which had provisions for PSBB.[30][31][32]

Netherlands[edit]

  • 12 March: Gatherings of more than 100 people banned.[25]
  • 13 March: Prison visitations limited to legal affairs.[25]
  • 15 March: All food and beverage outlets, bars, cafes, restaurants, gyms, saunas, sex clubs and coffee shops required to close, except for takeaway and delivery services.[25] Schools closed.
  • 17 March: All education services closed.[25]
  • 23 March: Visits to youth, disability and psychiatric care restricted.[25]
  • 23 March: Ban on non-essential outdoors activities, gatherings with more then 2 people banned, 1.5 meter introduced.[25]

New Zealand[edit]

  • 21 March: Restricted visits to aged care facilities.[25]
  • 22 March: At risk individuals ordered to stay home.[25]
  • 23 March: All individuals ordered to stay home unless carrying essential activities.[25]
  • 23 March: All non-essential services closed.[25]

Pakistan[edit]

Russia[edit]

  • 16 March: higher educational institutions switch to distance learning.[33]
  • 18 March: announced schools dismiss for three weeks, employees are urged to allow work from home.[33]
  • 19 March : mandatory 2 weeks self-isolation for all travellers, entering the country.[33]
  • 22 March: citywide lockdown in Moscow for a week.[33]
  • 27 March: all international flights suspended.[33]
  • 30 March: lockdown prolonged up to April 30.[33]
  • 30 March: St Petersburg and several regions join the lockdown.[34][35][36]

Singapore[edit]

  • 24 March: All entertainment venues closed. Gatherings of more than 10 people banned outside of school and work.[25]
  • 7 April: Stay-at-home order.[37]Non-essential workplaces closed, schools transitioned to distance learning, recreational venues, attractions and places of worship closed. Food and beverage outlets limited to takeaway, drive-thru and delivery only.[25]
  • 21 April: Introduced controlled access at areas susceptible to crowding, more non-essential workplaces closed (standalone F&B outlets that only sell beverages, packaged snacks, confectioneries, and desserts, as well as hairdressers and barbers).[38]

Turkey[edit]

  • 12 March: Closed schools and universities.[39]
  • 15 March: Closed libraries, pavilions, discotheques, bars and night clubs.[40][41]
  • 16 March: Closed mosques, cafes, gyms, Internet cafés and movie theaters.[42][43][44]
  • 19 March: Postponed football, volleyball, basketball and handball leagues.[45]
  • 21 March: Imposed a total curfew for those who are over the age 65 or chronically ill.[46] Closed restaurants, dining places and patisseries to the public for dining in, only allowing home delivery and take-away.[47]
  • 3 April: Extended the curfew to people younger than 20 years old.[48]
  • 10 April: Declared curfews for the upcoming weekend in the 30 provinces with metropolitan status and Zonguldak, lasting for 48 hours.[49]
  • 13 April: Announced that until further notice such curfews would be in force also during subsequent weekends.[50]

United Kingdom[edit]

  • 18 March: Closed schools.[25]
  • 21 March: Closed bars, restaurants, cafes and other entertainment venues.[25]
  • 22 March: Advised vulnerable people to stay at home.[25][51]
  • 23 March: Initiated Lockdown Phase, Closed most businesses.[25]
    • Restaurants, pubs, cafes and the like must close, but can operate food delivery and takeaway services. All retail must close except for supermarkets, medical services, pharmacies, petrol stations, bicycle shops, hardware shops, gardening shops, corner shops and newsagents, alcohol shops, laundrettes, post offices, and some other retailers. Hotels and other accommodation services must close but may provide accommodation to stranded foreign nationals, critical workers and homeless and other vulnerable people. Libraries, museums, community centres, and places for worship must close. Gyms, parks, sports and recreation facilities must close.[citation needed]
    • Directed people to stay home except for shopping for necessities, seeking medical care or looking after a vulnerable person, and travelling to and from work which cannot be done at home.[25]

United States[edit]

States, territories, and counties that issued a stay-at-home order:
  Came into effect before 22 March
  Came into effect before 29 March
  Came into effect before 5 April
  Came into effect before 12 April
Full map including municipalities

Alabama[edit]

Alaska[edit]

  • 28 March: Stay at home order.[52]

Arizona[edit]

  • 31 March: Stay at home order.[52]

California[edit]

  • 19 March: Stay at home order.[52]

Colorado[edit]

  • 26 March: Stay at home order.[52]

Connecticut[edit]

  • 23 March: Stay at home order.[52]

Delaware[edit]

District of Columbia[edit]

  • 1 April: Stay at home order.[52]

Florida[edit]

  • 3 April: Stay at home order.[52]

Georgia[edit]

  • 3 April: Shelter in place order.[52]

Hawaii[edit]

  • 25 March: Stay at home order.[52]

Idaho[edit]

  • 25 March: Stay at home order.[52]

Illinois[edit]

  • 21 March: Stay at home order.[52]

Indiana[edit]

  • 24 March: Stay at home order.[52]

Kansas[edit]

  • 30 March: Stay at home order.[52]

Kentucky[edit]

  • 26 March: Healthy at home order.[52]

Louisiana[edit]

  • 23 March: Stay at home order.[52]

Maine[edit]

  • 2 April: Stay at home order.[52]

Maryland[edit]

  • 30 March: Stay at home order.[52]

Massachusetts[edit]

  • 24 March: Stay at home advised.[52]

Michigan[edit]

  • 24 March: Stay at home order.[52]

Minnesota[edit]

  • 27 March: Stay at home order.[52]

Mississippi[edit]

  • 3 April: Shelter in place order.[52]

Missouri[edit]

  • 6 April: Stay at home order.[52]

Montana[edit]

  • 28 March: Stay at home order.[52]

Nevada[edit]

  • 1 April: Stay at home order.[52]

New Hampshire[edit]

  • 27 March: Stay at home order.[52]

New Jersey[edit]

  • 21 March: Stay at home order.[52]

New Mexico[edit]

  • 24 March: Stay at home order.[52]

New York[edit]

  • 22 March: Stay at home order.[52]

North Carolina[edit]

  • 30 March: Stay at home order.[52]

Ohio[edit]

  • 23 March: Stay at home order.[52]

Oregon[edit]

  • 23 March: Stay at home order.[52]

Pennsylvania[edit]

  • 1 April: Stay at home order.[52]

Puerto Rico[edit]

  • 15 March: Stay at home order.[52]

Rhode Island[edit]

  • 28 March: Stay at home order.[52]

South Carolina[edit]

  • 7 April: Stay at home order.[52]

Tennessee[edit]

  • 31 March: Stay at home order.[52]

Texas[edit]

  • 2 April: Stay at home order.[52]

Vermont[edit]

  • 25 March: Stay at home order.[52]

Virginia[edit]

  • 30 March: Stay at home order.[52]

Washington[edit]

  • 23 March: Stay at home order.[52]

West Virginia[edit]

  • 24 March: Stay at home order.[52]

Wisconsin[edit]

  • 25 March: Stay at home order.[52]

Debate[edit]

While enjoying broad support among epidemiologists, the social distancing measures are at times politically controversial. Intellectual support for the opposition tends to come from writers of other fields, although there are a few heterodox epidemiologists.[53]

The measures are part of an unprecedented expansion of government power. Advocates of small government worry that the state will be reluctant to give up that power once the crisis is over, as has often been the case historically.[54]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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