Confusion between coronavirus ‘rules’ and ‘guidance’

Letter from: Eric Waters, Ingleside Crescent, Lancing

Social distancing markers on Worthing seafront
Social distancing markers on Worthing seafront

Even The Herald can get things wrong (but not often, I am happy to say!).

They devoted a full page last week to show us what to expect when non-essential shops start to open up again, and posed the question, ‘What will social distancing rules mean for the way we shop for clothes,books and more?’

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Social distancing rules? Sorry but there is no such thing as the ‘two-metre rule’, and there never has been.

The government’s own official website states ‘Keep your distance if you go out – two metres apart where possible’. The Department for Business in its ‘guidance’ for employers and employees says: “Maintain two-metre social distancing, where possible. Where possible, you should maintain two metres between people...Where it’s not possible for people to be two metres apart, you should do everything practical to manage the transmission risk.”

In other words, it is a guidance, not a rule; in England at least, just a piece of sensible advice, which the population can either follow or ignore as it sees fit.

It has no force in law and people are no more likely to be arrested for breaking it than for failing to wash their hands. Apart from all that, Mr Editor, I thought the page in question was well composed and very informative!