What Is "Social Distancing" & How Does It Work?

By now, you’ve probably heard of the term “social distancing” … but what exactly does that mean?

Social distancing, also known as “physical distancing,” means keeping space between yourself and people outside your home.

In order to practice proper social distancing, The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention recommends you follow these three main steps:

  • Stay at least 6 feet from other people
  • Do not gather in large groups
  • Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings

On top of the everyday steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the CDC says keeping space between you and others is one of the best tools to avoid exposure to the virus.

The CDC also recommends you limit close contact with others outside your house. Since people can spread the virus before they know they’re sick, it’s important to stay away from others when possible.


According to the CDC, COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact with others with a prolonged period of time.

Spread can happen when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks, and droplets from their mouth or nose are launched into the air.

Recent studies indicate that people who are infected but don’t have symptoms are likely playing a role in the spread of COVID-19.

It’s possible that you can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touching your own mouth, nose or eyes. However, according to the CDC this is not the main way the virus spreads.

Experts say COVID-19 can live for hours, or even days, on some surfaces. Social distancing helps limit opportunities to come in contact with contaminated surfaces.

Although the risk of illness is different for everyone, the CDC wants to remind you that anyone can get and spread COVID-19. Everyone has a role to play in slowing the spread of the virus.


  • Follow guidance from authorities where you live
  • If you need to shop for food or medicine, stay at least 6 feet from others (or consider other options)
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a face covering
  • Avoid gatherings of any side outside your household
  • Work from home when possible
  • Avoid public transportation

CLICK HERE for more information from The CDC.