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Social Distancing Guide

Below is a quick guide to what you should not do, what you should do with caution (remembering the 6-foot rule and washing or sanitizing your hands frequently) and things you can do with relative safety.


Please note: the following guidelines apply to those who are feeling healthy, have no underlying “at risk “conditions, and are younger than 60 years old. If you are sick, have one of the “at risk” conditions, or are 60 years old or older, CDC’s and other guidelines are clear that you should stay at home. This more restrictive approach for these populations, especially people older than 60 who feel healthy and well, can be tremendously burdensome and challenging. But we truly view this as what each of us can do to help save lives.


Do not:

Gather in groups

Have sleepovers or playdates or hang out with friends (of any age)

Play sports with non-household family members

Have meals with friends and neighbors

Do any non-essential driving with others (except household members not in quarantine)

Have non-essential visitors or workers in your home

Spend too much time in stores or places of business for any reason, get in and out as soon as possible

Go to malls or crowded stores


Do with caution:

Shop for groceries quickly and not in crowded stores, and shop during off peak hours when the stores are less crowded; opt for delivery by phone or utilize internet orders if possible

Pick up a prescription at a pharmacy (if you cannot arrange for delivery)

Go to work only if you must

In each of the above cases, try to keep to the 6-foot rule, wash or sanitize your hands frequently (especially as soon as you get home) and consider changing and washing your clothing upon returning home


Safe to do:

Go for a walk or a run. (keep in mind the 6-foot rule, and wash your hands when you return home)

Ride a bike

Play in the backyard with household members not on isolation

Go for a drive with household members (if not in quarantine)

Cook a meal or bake together as a family

Work from home

Exercise at home


Connect with others by phone, text, WhatsApp, FaceTime, Zoom etc.




1) What does it mean to be in isolation?

In isolation, you should have no contact with anyone unless absolutely necessary. This is reserved for individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 because they have the greatest likelihood of spreading the disease.


2) What does it mean to be in quarantine?

Quarantine is in order when someone has been exposed to COVID-19. Because people can transmit the disease before they have symptoms, in quarantine you should restrict yourself to your home and have contact only with individuals in your home. You should do your best to stay 6 feet from each other and you should not share utensils, beds, cups, etc. with them.


3) So how does social distancing differ from quarantine?

Quarantine is when you are restricted to your home and can be in contact only with those living there with you. Social distancing allows for minimal movement in the community if you focus on reducing contact with others. One of the main ways of doing this is by avoiding events and crowds, reducing meetings and other gatherings to a few members, working from home with video and phone meetings as necessary, and keeping a safe distance of 6 feet with anyone you are with for longer than 6 minutes.


If you do go out, try to stay 6 feet away from others. If you live in an apartment, try not to touch handrails or other items in the stairwell and avoid crowded elevators. In all cases, use hand sanitizer frequently and wash your hands thoroughly as soon as you return.


Not easy, we know!! But during this uncertain time, when we are all looking for ways to help out and keep our community, friends and loved ones healthy, social distancing is something simple we can all do. It is a selfless act that saves lives.


4) How is the Coronavirus spread?

COVID-19 appears to be spread via respiratory droplets, and mainly from person to person. This means that with a cough or a sneeze the viral particles may directly spread to another person or fall to the surrounding surfaces or the ground. The particles travel generally no more than 6 feet, therefore the “six feet rule.” The virus can live on some surfaces for many hours, so someone who touches those surfaces and then touches their face, especially their eyes, nose and mouth, may introduce the virus into their system. That is why cleaning surfaces, frequent hand washing and minimizing touching the face is crucial.


  1. Where can I learn how to protect myself and more about social distancing? The CDC has a very clear website on actions to be taken to protect yourself and your family. The recommendations on this site are very much a part of what social distancing is about.


C lick here to view this useful web page. Additional information about COVID19

and the latest updates from the city of Newburyport can be found here:


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Homepage

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