5.4 Physical distancing

Physical distancing requirements remain in care homes, prisons and social community and residential care settings.  The full guidance requirements for physical distancing in these areas are laid out in Appendix 18 of the NIPCM

Across all other settings, the requirements for physical distancing will cease and is no longer required for healthcare workers, patients/service users or visitors. However, where services wish to continue physical distancing they may choose to do so particularly in settings where staff have to remove their FRSM and a COVID-19 exposure event has the ability to result in high staff isolation numbers/significant service impact. 

It is important to note that overcrowding in any area of a healthcare facility including inpatient areas, waiting areas and outpatient departments increases transmission risk for respiratory viruses including COVID-19 and it is important to remain mindful of the volume of people in a space at any one time taking account of HCWs, patients and visitors.  Settings must not return to pre pandemic practices which facilitated overcrowding and steps should be taken to prevent this.

Inpatient beds including those on the respiratory pathway must meet minimum bed spacing requirements.

Across ALL settings there is still a requirement to adhere to extended use of face masks guidance outlined in section 5.15.1.