Ottawa

Social distancing: How far is far enough?

Thinking about taking the kids skiing, or sending the teenagers to mall? A retired virologist says you should think twice about activities involving groups, indoors or out, over the next few weeks.

Avoid groups, indoors or out, virologist warns

An deserted playground at a school in Ottawa in December 2019. (CBC)

Thinking about taking the kids skiing or sending the teenagers to mall next week? A retired virologist says you should think twice about activities involving groups, indoors or out, over the next few weeks.

"When you're thinking about where's a safe place, you want to go away from where people are touching and spending time," said Earl Brown, professor emeritus at the University of Ottawa.

Many parents are searching for activities to keep their children busy during the three-week extended March Break announced Thursday. 

While most outdoor activities let you avoid crowds and close interactions, Brown said there are still concerns about playground equipment such as swings.

"Everyone handles the chain and the play structures, so you have to think about these common areas," he said.

Ottawa Public Health is asking residents to avoid crowds, stay home if they're feeling sick and wash their hands or use sanitizer whenever possible, while the city of Ottawa is closing most facilities starting Monday until April 5th.

The World Health Organization says people in urban areas should stay at least one metre away others, but two metres is advised whenever possible.

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