Do's and Don'ts of Self-Isolation

March 23, 2020

Guidelines for self-isolation by the BC Centre for Disease Control

For those who do not have COVID-19 or respiratory symptoms

If you have been asked to self-isolate at home because of the possibility of having come into contact with an infected person or because you traveled. This does not necessarily mean that you have COVID-19, but you are at risk for developing the disease and passing the infection on to others. 

Do stay home for 14 days

  • Work from home
  • Use food deliver

Do protect others

  • Wash your hands frequently (hand hygiene)
  • Cough into your sleeve (respiratory etiquette) 
  • Keep 2 Metres away from others (social distancing)
  • Greet with a wave instead of a handshake, a kiss, or a hug (social distancing)

Do get creative to prevent boredom

  • Get creative by drawing chalk art or running back yard obstacle courses and games

Do monitor your symptoms

  • If you develop cough or fever, report symptoms call 811
  • If you are having trouble breathing call 911
  • If you are directed to an assessment centre or Emergency Department, wear a surgical/procedure mask
  • If traveling by ambulance, notify the dispatcher that you may have COVID-19

 Do keep in contact with friends

  • Use technology, such as video calls, to keep in touch with friends and family
  • Host virtual meetings, online hangouts, virtual family dinners, or virtual playdates for your kids 

Do continue to exercise

  • Exercise at home
  • Go outside for some fresh air, a run, bike ride, rollerblades, snowshoe, walk the dog, or get the mail - ensuring you stay 2 meters away from others. 

Do clean all high-touch surfaces

  • High touch surfaces: toilets, bedside tables, and door handles should be cleaned daily using a store-bought disinfectant. If not available, use diluted bleach solution, one part bleach to 50 parts water (e.g. mix 10 ml beach with 500 ml water), and allow the surface to remain wet for 1 minute.
  • If they can withstand the use of liquids for disinfection, high touch electronics such as phones, computers, and other devices should be disinfected with 60% alcohol that remains wet for 1 minute. 

Do not go to school, work, or other public areas

  • Example, malls, fitness centre, place of worship

Do not have visitors

  • Except for individuals providing care or delivering food/supplies, and in that case, maintain a distance of 2 metres. 

Do not use public transportation

Do not share personal items with others.

  • including toothbrushes, towels, linens, thermometers, cigarettes, unwashed utensils, and electronic devices, sich as phones and computers. 

Frequently asked questions

What is the point of self-isolation?
This is one way every Canadian can help slow the spread of this virus in their community and protect their friends, family, and health care workers.

Can I go to work?
No. You could put your co-workers at risk. Many employers have made arrangements for working from home.

Can I use taxis/public transit/rideshare?
No. You cannot make sure that you are 2 meters form other people. Using taxis, public transit, and ride shares put the public at risk.

Can I go for a walk outside?
Yes. It is important to continue to exercise. BUT it is important that you avoid crowded areas and stay at least 2 meters from other people. You should wash your hands before you leave your house and when you return.

Can I go to the pharmacy to pick up my medication?
No. If you need medications, use a pharmacy delivery service or ask a friend to pick them up and bring them to your home.

Can I get the mail and newspaper?
If your mail is delivered directly to your house, it is ok to go to your mailbox. Make sure you wash your hands. If your mail is delivered to an apartment or community mailbox, or the post office, ask a friend to pick-up and deliver to you.

Can I go through a drive-through for coffee/food?
No. There is a risk of infecting other community members, including food service workers. Use delivery services or ask someone to deliver coffee or food to you.

Can I prepare for self-isolation by grocery shopping when I return from abroad?
No. If you are on self-isolation, this applies immediately. Use grocery delivery services or ask a friend to deliver them to you. If you must buy groceries yourself, order online/by phone for pick-up. Ensure proper handwashing and wear a mask.

Should I cancel my haircut/pedicure/spa treatment?
Yes. These are examples of non-essential appointments. You would be exposing your service providers and the public to unnecessary risk.

Can I have visitors?
No. Use technology, such as video calls, to keep in touch with friends and family.

Can I have playdates for my kids or playdates in my home?
No. If your children are in self-isolation, they need to avoid contact with others. Consider novel ways to keep in touch like virtual meetings, hangouts, family dinners or playdates for your kids.

Can children play outdoors together? Can my child have a sleepover with children who have also been isolated?
No. Children need to keep 2 meters away from other people.


Click HERE for a printable version of the Do's and Don'ts