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Is It Safe to Go Outside While Social Distancing?

You Can Still Go Outside During the UK Lockdown, But You'll Need to Take Some Precautions

Being asked to stay at home can be challenging, particularly if you're dealing with a lot of nervous energy right now. With the 24-hour coverage of the coronavirus growing more unsettling every day, and with the UK now officially being in lockdown, you may find yourself craving some sense of normalcy. The good news: if normalcy means getting some much-needed sunlight and fresh air, you can still venture out while keeping yourself and others safe. The UK government is still allowing anyone who has no symptoms of COVID-19 to go one form of exercise per day (for example a run, a walk, or a cycle), so long as you practice strict social distancing while doing so.

"During this pandemic, it is still safe to go outside to get some fresh air and sun, as long as you continue to practice social distancing," Natasha Bhuyan, MD, a family physician and regional medical director at One Medical, told POPSUGAR. "That means staying at least six feet away from other people, whether you are going for a hike, walking your dog, or jogging in the neighbourhood." But keep in mind, this might not be as simple as you'd think. "This might take some careful planning, especially for people who live in high-density areas," she said.

Dr. Bhuyan went on to explain that there are steps you can take to ensure you keep a safe distance from others. "This might include some awkward but important manoeuvres," she said. For example, you may need to change the side of the street you're walking on if you see people headed your way — and while that may typically seem rude, health and safety (yours and theirs) takes precedence right now.

Additionally, this is not the time for a power walk with some friends. "You should not meet up with a friend to go for a walk unless you are intentionally keeping a physical distance from each other," Dr. Bhuyan said. "While it's hard to comprehend, we know that asymptomatic people might still be carriers of COVID-19 and they can infect others." A step further, the UK government has now banned gatherings of more than two people in public, with police keeping an eye out to ensure people comply..

So, stay home to help prevent the spread and save lives — but get some fresh air for sure. Just make sure you're flying solo or with a furry friend. And remember, if you are walking your dog, try not to let people come up and pat them during this time. While everyone could use some puppy therapy, allowing a stranger to get that close could put you both at risk.

POPSUGAR aims to give you the most accurate and up-to-date information about the coronavirus, but details and recommendations about this pandemic may have changed since publication. For the latest information on COVID-19, please check out resources from the WHO, the NHS, and GOV.UK.

Image Source: Getty / Westend61
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