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A Guide to Social Distancing for Essential Businesses During COVID-19

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Guide to Social Distancing for Essential Businesses During COVID-19 | Seton


Updated October 2020

Amidst the outbreak of COVID-19, it goes without saying that businesses around the globe are adjusting to a new norm. For some, this simply means shifting to remote work and allowing employees additional flexibility in their work schedules— but for certain businesses like manufacturing plants, restaurants, production centers, and other offices where remote work might not be an option, the pandemic presents a new set of challenges entirely.

Utilize our guide below for more information on social distancing for both essential and non-essential businesses, including the definition of social distance, specific ways that your business operations may be impacted by the need for social distancing, and the best ways to enforce the “new normal” of social distancing every day in the workplace to keep everyone as safe as possible.

Here’s What We’ll Cover:

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What is Social Distance?

The term “social distance” has long been used in the field of sociology, but has only recently cropped up in public health within the last few decades. Fast forward to today, and it seems like social distancing is at the forefront of just about everything we do now.

By definition, social distance is the act of deliberately increasing the physical space between yourself and others, especially to slow or prevent the spread of a contagious illness or disease. Social distancing is not the same as “shelter-in-place.” While shelter-in-place stems from an official order issued during an emergency, social distance is more of a recommendation in the interest of public health and safety.

What is the Purpose of Social Distancing During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

In the interest of keeping essential employees and the public safe, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have recommended that businesses adhere to and strictly enforce specific social distancing guidelines while they continue to operate. Especially in the case of Coronavirus (COVID-19), social distancing is not just effective, but crucial to slowing the spread of disease and reducing the amount of unnecessary cases, or “flattening the curve.” 

According to the CDC: “The goal of social distancing is to limit exposure by reducing face-to-face contact and preventing the spread among people in community settings. What these actions look like at the community level will vary depending on local conditions.”

For more information, please refer to the CDC website and be sure to consult with your local medical authority for health advice.

Social Distancing Guidelines & Best Practices

According to the CDC’s guidelines, individuals should adhere to the following when practicing and maintaining safe social distance in schools, workplaces, and other community locations: 

    • Stay at home, only go out if it is essential
    • Limit close contact with others as much as possible
    • Keep away from others who are sick or feel sick
    • Avoid public gatherings and groups of more than 10 people
    • Maintain a minimum of 3-6 feet between yourself and others at all times
    • Avoid physical greetings such as handshakes, hugs, and kisses
    • Practice good hygiene and wash hands frequently

As always, stay informed and follow the direction of your state/local authorities for further information.

How to Encourage & Enforce Social Distancing in the Workplace

A leader in the workplace safety industry, Seton provides a number of COVID-19 signs, labels, floor markers, and other compliance solutions to help ensure that you, your employees, and your customers are safe and protected as your business continues to operate during this time. Our curated selection helps businesses of all kinds stay compliant with government recommendations and regulations regarding public space and work environments.

A few high-level ways your business can enforce social distancing and safe public practices:

  • Post signage with COVID-specific messaging to encourage customers to maintain a minimum of six feet between each other and staff members when on-site.
  • Use indoor or outdoor floor and pavement markers to provide a visual demonstration of what safe social distancing should look like.
  • Control and direct foot and car traffic, which could especially be affected if you’ve limited your business hours to a smaller window of time. If necessary, restrict access to certain areas of your facility with barriers, stanchions, or other traffic control products.
  • Keep your customers updated on on-site procedures in real-time. As we know, COVID and social distancing regulations are continuously changing as we receive updated information from the CDC. Posting highly visible, up-to-date signage that spells out your facility’s specific rules and procedures is the best way to make both customers and employees feel safe and aware in a fast-changing landscape.

Custom Social Distancing Signs & Floor Markers

Add your company logo, specific graphics, and a text legend of your choosing to nearly any social distance sign for a completely customized safety solution. Custom facility signage is one of our specialties, and all of our COVID-related signage, labels, and floor markers are highly customizable to best suit your company’s needs, branding and policy communication process.

Custom Social Distancing Floor Markers for Businesses | Seton

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What are the Best Social Distancing Signs for Businesses?

Since the beginning of the pandemic, our product experts here at Seton have greatly expanded our product offering to include the top social distancing signage for every type of workplace. Below are just a few of our top sellers:


Featured Products

L13770 – Health First, Practice Social Distancing While Waiting Sign

EM456 – Use Caution Social Distancing Sign

EM457 – Health First, Social Distancing Sign

ME4599 – Social Distance – Please No Congregating in the Break Room Sign

EM5620 – Social Distancing Now in Effect Sign

ML0041 – Store Occupancy Limited to Maintain Social Distance Sign

For more options, check out our entire selection of social distance signs & posters for businesses

How Can I Use Floor Markers to Promote Social Distancing?

Seton’s anti-slip floor markers are perfect for directing customers while they wait in line or move around your store or facility. They’re also great for ensuring that employees stay safe on the job by politely reminding customers to maintain an appropriate distance, practice good hygiene, and wear masks at all times. 

Below are a few of our best-selling social distance floor markers for businesses of all kinds:

Social Distancing Floor Markers for Businesses:


Featured Products

ME0012 – Please Wait Here For Cashier to Call You Forward

ME1115 – Do Your Part – Stay 6 Feet Apart

ME0013 – Maintain 6 Feet – Thank You


Die-Cut Footprints & Floor Marking Tape:

Featured Products

16855D – Vinyl Footprints

CA123189 – Floor Marking Footprints

RH001 – Waterproof Anti-Slip Floor Marking Tape

For more options, check out our entire selection of social distance floor markers & mats


What are the Best Products to Combine with Social Distance Signs?

Traffic & Parking Products for Social Distancing

Combining indoor and outdoor signage/message displays with traffic control and crowd management products like barriers and stanchions is a great way to keep business running as smoothly as possible with minimal problems or interruptions. Use these for line management inside or outside of your facility, direct vehicle traffic, or control/restrict access to certain areas.

Traffic & Crowd Control Products to Combine with Social Distancing Signs | Seton



Recommended Products

Barricade Tapes & Stanchions

L7571 – Custom Stanchion Sign System




Social Distance Labels

We also carry a number of our social distance signs in smaller label versions, which are perfect to use in conjunction with our larger signage offering. With a strong adhesive backing for hassle-free application, our social distance labels can be posted on bathroom mirrors, glass doors, windows, and more for additional safety reminders throughout your facility.

Social Distance Labels for Offices | Seton


Recommended Products

ML0013 – CDC Hand Washing Recommendations Label

ML0008 – Please Sanitize Hands Label





For more information on how our products can be utilized, please view our Solutions for Essential Businesses Digital Catalog or browse our entire COVID-19 product offering.

To check current stock status and delivery times, please reach out to our knowledgeable customer service team at 800-243-6624.