Social distancing

Social distancing means maintaining distance between yourself and other people outside of your home or outside of your social bubble / extended household. Everyone in the UK must practice social distancing to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Unless you have COVID-19 symptoms, you should adhere to the following advice from the Government:

  • Wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds
  • Wear a face covering in enclosed spaces (required in many settings in England but mandatory only on public transport in Wales - see below or further information)
  • Stay two metres apart where possible from people outside of your household, your support bubble in England and your extended household in Wales or one metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing a face covering, meeting outdoors or increasing ventilation indoors). 
  • In England, it is against the law to meet in groups of larger than six people (including children) indoors or outdoors (unless your household / support bubble exceeds this number - further exemptions apply). In Wales you can only meet in group of a maximum of six people when indoors (excluding children under 11 years) and must all belong to the same extended household - up to three households are able to join together to form an extended household. Outdoor social contact with up to 30 people is still allowed in Wales as long as social distancing is maintained. 
  • Work safely either in a COVID secure workplace or from home if your employer agrees to this.

Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has COVID-19 symptoms

If you or someone in your household have COVID-19 symptoms or if any of you have been identified as 'clinically vulnerable' please take a look at our self-isolation and shielding pages for further information.

If you have Huntington's disease and find it difficult to maintain social distancing, you may find the below Government produced resources useful to signal to those around you that they need to give you space.

The government has produced card templates and mobile phone images to be used if you or a loved one has difficulties or concerns in maintaining social distancing.

gov.uk social distancing templates

 

Wearing a face mask or face covering

Wearing a face covering helps to stop the spread of COVID-19. Even if you are wearing a mask or face covering, you should still keep your distance and follow good hygiene. 

As of 24 July 2020 people in England, over the age of 11 years, are required by law to wear a face mask or covering when they are in shops, supermarkets, banks and post offices, takeaways, indoor shopping centres, in NHS facilities as a visitor or outpatient, when using public transport and various other settings. Schools and colleges will have the discretion to require face coverings in indoor communal areas where social distancing cannot be safely managed. You should be prepared to remove your face covering if asked to do so by police officers and staff for the purposes of identification. Information regarding the wearing of face masks is changing weekly and we recommend you follow government guidance from their website here.

For people in Wales, face masks and coverings are also recommended but not required in most settings except on public transport, where face coverings are required from 27 July 2020. Information regarding the wearing of face masks is changing weekly and we recommend you follow government guidance from their website here.

There are some limited exemptions to the wearing of face masks and this includes: 

  • if the person is younger than 11 years old
  • if the person can’t put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
  • if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause the person severe distress
  • if the person is travelling with or helping someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
  • if this helps to avoid harm or injury to the person or others

If you are able to wear a face mask you should, as this offers the most protection. However if you or a someone you know has Huntington's disease and would find wearing a face mask or face covering difficult for one of the reasons above, the following exemption cards and resources may be useful to help explain Huntington's disease to anyone that might challenge the fact that a mask isn't being worn. The use of such cards is a personal choice and is not necessary in law. 

Our 'I have Huntington's' I.d card explains at a glance what Huntington's is and provides space for details of who to contact in an emergency. It can be worn on a lanyard or carried. Click on the link for details of how to order your free card. 

I have Huntington's card

We have created an information sheet that you can show to anyone that may challenge you for not wearing a mask, if you are exempt. This can be used in conjunction with the 'I have Huntington's' card above. Click on the link to download your copy.

Information sheet explaining Huntington's and face masks
Hidden disabilities have produced an exemption card available to order from their shop for a small fee. Click on the link for more information. Hidden disabilities exemption card

Hidden disabilities have produced a hidden disability sunflower lanyard available to order from their shop for a small fee. This lanyard is recognised in many airports and shops and highlights to staff that the person may require additional assistance. Click on the link for more information.

These lanyards can also be obtained from participating Tesco and Sainsbury's stores via the Customer Service desk.

Hidden disabilities sunflower lanyard
The government has produced template exemption cards and mobile phone images for people to use if they would find wearing a mask or face covering difficult for the above reasons. gov.uk exemption templates

If you have Huntington's or someone you know has Huntington's and wearing a mask is possible but perhaps it is uncomfortable or difficult to remember to wear one, you could try the following strategies before deciding not to wear a mask and using an exemption card:

  • Try masks / coverings in different materials, styles and with looser ties until you find one you like
  • Add a sign to the door as a reminder to take the mask out with you
  • Encourage / reassure that the mask is offering protection during the pandemic

 

Where to get a face mask or face covering?

A face covering is not the same as the medical grade surgical masks used by healthcare and other workers as part of personal protective equipment (PPE). 

Face masks and coverings are now widely available to purchase in a number of shops, supermarkets and pharmacies in both disposable and reusable formats. Alternatively you can use a bandana, a scarf or make your own - the government has provided guidance on how to do this here. If you already wear a religious garment that covers your mouth and nose, this counts as a face covering for this purpose and you do not have to wear another.

When using face masks and face coverings it is important to wash your hands before putting them on and taking them off. If your mask / covering is reusable you should wash it after each use.

The Huntington's Disease Association has a new range of face masks and face coverings which will be available to purchase from our online shop now. Please note our face masks and face coverings are not medical grade and should not and do not take the place of PPE equipment. They are single-ply. You should not rely on our face masks or face coverings alone to protect you from COVID-19. You should continue to follow all government guidance including maintaining social distancing and practicing good hand hygiene.

 

Social contact - what can you do?

In England, you can now create a support bubble with one other household if you wish to, but one of the households in the ‘support bubble’ should be a single adult household (i.e an adult living alone or with children under 18 only). You can spend time together outside and inside each other’s homes, including overnight, without needing to socially distance. In Wales, you can form an extended household, formed between two households of any size.

From 14 September, it is against the law in England to meet socially in groups of more than six people (including children) indoors or outdoors. Exemptions apply such as larger households, the workplace, places of worship. Social distancing must still be maintained with those outside of hours household / support bubble. 

Indoor social contact in Wales is limited to those in your extended household and to a maximum of six people (excluding children aged 11 and under) but social contact outdoors is allowed for up to 30 people as long as social distancing is maintained. 

The more people you interact with, the more chance COVID-19 has to spread therefore the Government recommends you still try to limit the number of people you see. 

Guidance on social contact is changing frequently. Additionally, if you live in an area where local lockdown is in place due to a spike in COVID-19 cases, there may be restrictions in place. We recommend you follow current government guidance for England and Wales on their respective web pages. 

 

Spending time outside your home

There are precautions you should take when spending time outside of your home: 

  • Stay two metres away from people from people outside of your support bubble / extended household. Where two metres cannot be maintained, such as on public transport or in the workplace, the Government are recommending one metre with extra precautions to help stop the spread of COVID-19, such as wearing a face covering or staying behind a screen. 
  • In England, do not meet in groups of more than six people (unless your household / support bubble exceeds this number you are in the workplace or you are attending an official ceremony / place of worship). In Wales do not mean in groups of more than 30 people and maintain social distancing at all times. 
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water or hand sanitiser
  • Do not share or exchange personal belongings (such as cups and water bottles) with others outside your household or support bubble
  • Avoid crowded outdoor spaces where it is difficult to maintain social distancing 
  • Wear a mask, if you can, in indoor areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain. This is required by law in various locations.
  • Keep indoor spaces well ventilated
  • Wash your clothes regularly as there is some evidence the COVID-19 virus can stay on fabrics for a few days.
  • if you are returning to work, minimise the number of people you spend time with in a work setting. Your employer can support you with this.

If you live in an area where local lockdown is in place due to a spike in COVID-19 cases, there may be restrictions in place. We recommend you follow current government guidance for England and Wales on their respective web pages.