It’s About More than Personal Protection—It Benefits Everyone
According to the latest data, more than half of law offices have all or some of their staff still working from the office. As some states start to loosen shelter-in-place restrictions, we can expect that number to increase further. If you’re working in an office with others, it’s still important to observe social distancing guidelines.
What Is Social Distancing?
Social distancing is an intentional practice where individual behavior is modified to minimize contact with other persons, with the specific purpose of preventing the spread of contagious disease. Social distancing typically means avoiding situations where you have contact with others, whether at work, shopping or in a purely social setting.
Social distancing does not mean you can’t be in the presence of another person—you just need to keep a safe distance. The World Health Organization recommends at least three feet, and the Centers for Disease Control recommends at least six feet. Most viruses are transmitted through tiny droplets from the mouth or nose of someone carrying the virus. That means you should avoid all physical contact with others, including handshakes, hugs, elbow bumps, etc.
Social Distancing Guidelines for Law Offices
To practice effective social distancing in your office, observe the following:
- Avoid unnecessary face-to-face meetings; instead, communicate by phone, videoconference, text message, or email.
- Be sure to advise employees, clients, and any meeting attendees to not come to the office if they have any symptoms or feel unwell.
- Limit the number of people at meetings to only those who are absolutely necessary.
- If space permits, arrange seats so that meeting participants are six feet apart.
- Have sufficient tissues and hand sanitizer for all meeting participants and have surgical masks available for anyone who develops respiratory symptoms during the meeting.
- During long meetings, encourage regular hand washing and use of sanitizer.
- Observe these guidelines in your lobby, reception areas, and break rooms—organize seats in a manner with six-feet between seats and have hand sanitizer available.
Does Social Distancing Work? The Historical Evidence
Though the term is new to most Americans, social distancing has been known in medical circles for more than a century. During the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, the practice proved successful in cities across the United States. In Philadelphia, where health officials did not employ social-distancing measures, more than 4,500 people died of Spanish flu. By contrast, the death rate was less than half that in St. Louis, where health officials imposed strict social-distancing measures. Once the first cases were confirmed there, they closed all non-essential public buildings, including courthouses, schools, churches, businesses, and libraries. Gatherings of more than 20 people were prohibited and streetcar travel was highly regulated. A large body of evidence also suggests that the 2014 West Africa Ebola epidemic was brought under control in part through aggressive social distancing.
Protect Yourself and Everyone Around You—Keep Your Distance (for Now)
At GetLegal, we support recommendations for effectively responding to COVID-19 with aggressive personal hygiene and conscious social distancing. We believe, though, that it’s possible to maintain community and connection, even when we can’t be together physically. We can help you use the power of technology to interact with others through an online videoconference or convey valuable information through a livestreamed presentation. To learn more about the ways we can help you stay connected, visit GetLegal online or call 1-877-359-7077.