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Stay outside when meeting others to reduce the spread of coronavirus

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Step one of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown is underway with up to six people or two households of any size now able to meet outside and outdoor sports resuming. It’s exciting after so many weeks of lockdown, but please don’t be tempted to meet indoors as the risk of spreading the virus is significantly higher inside.

As the rules around social contact change, it is important to consider why the restrictions are being eased in a certain way – outdoors first and only to see a few people at a time.

Evidence shows that meeting outdoors is safer than meeting indoors, as you are much less likely to pass on or catch coronavirus in the open air, particularly if you are also adhering to social distancing, and limiting the number of people you meet in line with the guidance.

Research shows the risk of infection is significantly lower in fresh air than indoors because:

  • the closer you are to people, the greater the risk of breathing in infected particles, particularly when indoors, as it is harder to physically distance
  • when indoors, smaller droplets and aerosols containing the virus can remain suspended in the air for some time, especially if there is no ventilation and therefore build ups are more likely to be inhaled by others
  • when outside in fresh air, the virus disperses more easily
  • when outdoors, there is more room to distance, reducing the risk of breathing in larger particles from an infected person

It is also important to remember that while the requirement to stay at home has also been lifted, the advice is to minimise travel and stay local. Overnight stays away from your own home are still not permitted including over the Easter weekend.

Those who have had a vaccination must also continue to follow the rules. The full impact of the vaccine on transmission of the virus is not yet known, therefore it may be possible to spread the virus, putting others at risk.

Public Health England has published a blog about protecting ourselves and each other as we move out of lockdown.