Social Distancing – 2 metre rule under review

Social distancing has been a key policy during lockdowns worldwide, although there has been no standard global standard. The World Health Organisation recommends at least one metre, which was adopted by France and Singapore. The UK and New Zealand plumped for two metres, with Germany compromising with 1.5 metres and the USA adopting the imperial ,easure of 6′ (1.8 metres). Other countries have adopted measures of between one and two metres.

Whilst the two metre standard is considered the most safe, the measure makes it difficult for the hospitality industry to re-open and be economically viable, whereas a one metre standard would enable the majority of restaurants, pubs and cafes to operate on a viable basis.

Boris Johnson gave the clearest hint yet today in Prime Minister’s Questions, after weeks of speculation and pressure, hinting that the UK’s two-metre rule will be reduced as the prevalence of Coronavirus falls. This follows a report in this morning’s Telegraph that the unpopular rule has been left out of draft Government guidance on reopening pubs and restaurants. Government proposals refer to “wider spacing” instead…

Guido’s previously noted the difference in risk reduction one versus two metres facilitates (reduction of 82% against one of 91% respectively). The Cabinet is said to be in favour of relaxing the rule, which is currently double the WHO recommendation. This is all a balance of risk, and it looks like the Government is poised to come down on the side of more personal responsibility…

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