Why Social Distancing Works

Explained by Calgary Doctors at Revolution Medical Clinic

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Staying apart to stay safe

Social distancing, also called physical distancing, is one of the best ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Even though research continues to support this preventative measure, there’s no denying that many have found it challenging to practice (especially this summer).

Special family events, concerts and even the Calgary Stampede were cancelled this year to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in our community. Measures were put in place in public spaces to encourage a healthy amount of space in-between visitors. After all this effort, you many want to know:

How does social distancing protect Calgarians?

What is social distancing?

Simply put, social distancing means keeping a safe distance between you and other people who are outside of your household. Health authorities recommend maintaining at least 6 feet (approximately 2 arm’s length or the length of a bicycle) away from others, both indoors and outdoors.

Two people with a grizzly bear between them

Credit: MEC.ca


COVID-19 can spread amongst people who are in close contact for a prolonged period of time. The latest research suggests that the virus spreads via respiratory droplets, which means when an infected person speaks, coughs or sneezes and droplets from their mouth or nose are launched into the air. Individuals within 6 feet of this person are at risk of inhaling the droplets into their lungs.

Because so many infected people (up to 80%) do not have symptoms or only experience mild symptoms, it is important to maintain social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Tips for successful social distancing

Maintaining six feet apart from others sounds like a straightforward recommendation, but it’s not unusual to find yourself in a situation where it’s hard to maintain. Here are a few tips to keep in mind the next time you plan to go out and about in Calgary:

  • Know how you’re getting there – Masks are mandatory here in Calgary while travelling on public transit. Make sure to bring a face covering if you are taking the bus, shuttle or CTrain. Physical distancing is impossible to maintain when these vehicles are at full capacity. In addition, the Calgary city council recently extended the face covering bylaw in public spaces.  

  • Limit contact – Opt for curbside pickup or contactless delivery when possible. If heading into an indoor public space, be mindful of the amount of time you spend there and respect other people’s space.

  • Choose safe social activities – When connecting with friends, try to communicate instead through video calls and social media. When socializing in person, opt for small, outdoor gatherings and maintain six feet of distance. Avoid large gatherings, and wear a mask in environments where maintaining two arms lengths of distance may not be possible.

Still have questions about social distancing? Our team is here to help.

We understand that it can be challenging to navigate and understand all the research and recommendations surrounding COVID-19. Our team at our walk-in clinics in Royal Oak, Acadia (Meadows Mile Professional Building), High River, and Signal Hill are here to answer your COVID-19 related questions.

All our clinics are accepting new patients and are ready to clear up any confusion or concerns you may have about social distancing and the role it plays in keeping our community safe.

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