Senior couple video chatting with family on their laptop

Tips To Stay Connected During Quarantine & Social Distancing

Kevin Graham5-Minute Read
August 31, 2022

If nothing else, COVID-19 (coronavirus) has put some new buzzwords on everyone’s tongue. The biggest ones are probably “quarantine,” “isolation,” and “social distancing.” But what do these terms mean and how do you know if you’re doing them properly? Just as importantly, how can we get that human connection we all need while still staying apart from each other?

We have some tips on all these things. Let’s start with some basics.

What Is A Quarantine?

Some people may be infected with a virus and not know it because they aren’t showing any symptoms.

A quarantine is a preventative measure that separates a person who has been exposed to a virus from people who have not been exposed until that person is sure they do not have the virus and cannot unknowingly infect other people. The quarantined person should stay in their home and not go out into the public. Quarantines usually last up to the amount of days it takes symptoms to appear, 14 days on average. If symptoms do not appear by then, the person may come out of quarantine.

When Are Quarantines Used?

Quarantines are typically used during outbreaks, epidemics and pandemics, like COVID-19. They are used when people may have been exposed to a contagion and aren’t sure if they have the virus or not. Quarantines are used when the person has traveled to and from an infected area or has come in contact with someone who has the illness.

Can You Be Legally Quarantined?

Yes, both the federal government and individual states can issue mandatory quarantines. The federal government has the authority to quarantine in an attempt to prevent the entry and spread of a virus throughout the country and each state. State, local and tribal authorities have the right to enforce quarantines within their borders. In most states, it is a criminal misdemeanor to violate a quarantine order. When it comes to violating a federal order, that can result in fines and imprisonment. While the federal government and state and local authorities can order quarantines, it’s rare they will go to such lengths. For example, in the case of COVID-19 people have been asked to self-quarantine. The last enforced quarantine was during the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic.

Quarantine Vs. Isolation

While some may use the terms “quarantine” and “isolation” interchangeably, the two preventative measures are different. Quarantine is for people who have been exposed to a virus but might not be infected. Isolation is for people who are for sure infected and already sick with the virus.

While the two are different, the basic rules apply for both – do not leave your house, separate yourself from others (including healthy folks inside your home) and do everything necessary to stop the spread. Routinely clean and disinfect your home, especially frequently touched surfaces. Those who are in isolation should use a separate room and bathroom as others in the home.

Quarantine Vs Social Distancing

As a measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the CDC is recommending that people stay at home as much as they can – whether they’ve knowingly been exposed to the disease or not.  Some states have taken this a step further by doing everything from banning gatherings over a certain number of people to ordering people to stay at home unless they need to go out for something essential. Essential activities include going to work in an essential business, as defined by your state. Others include going to the grocery store or a medical facility.

Because moving around is good for your health, these orders include provisions that you’re allowed to go outside to exercise. However, when you do this, it’s important to be aware of other people and take the proper precautions.

How To Properly Social Distance

Leave 6 feet of distance between yourself and anyone else. This is important because the virus is thought to spread primarily on a person-to-person basis. If an infected person coughs or sneezes, those droplets can also land in the nose or mouth of a person who hasn’t been infected and be inhaled into the lungs. Because of this, people who are sick should stay home. Don’t go out except to seek medical attention if you’re exhibiting symptoms like a fever or cough.

If you do sneeze or cough, it’s important to do so either into a tissue or into your elbow.

What Does Social Distancing Look Like?

Social distancing involves trying to stay 6 feet away from others as a way to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. But, assuming you don’t carry around a tape measure with you and that you don’t want to build an elaborate distancing ring to keep around your body at all times, here are some ways to approximate that 6-foot distance.

  • Two yardsticks
  • The length of a full- or twin-size bed
  • Couch with three seats
  • The average width of a sedan
  • A couple of golden retrievers standing nose to tail

These things are all useful but, with the exception of the dogs, they aren’t any fun to imagine. These celebrities just so happen to be 6 feet tall. If America’s leading-man-turned COVID-19 victim Tom Hanks were to lie down on the floor and you were able to stand on either side of that space, you’re far enough apart. You can do the same test by envisioning Leonardo DiCaprio or singer Harry Styles. Lisa Leslie of WNBA fame, comedian Jane Lynch and actor Brooke Shields work as well.

We could give you a bunch of other health tips, but it seems like you can get that from any news organization, and we’ve been inundated with info right now. But the rest of this post will go over social distancing and how to do it properly without getting cabin fever.

How To Stay Connected During This Time

When you can’t go out and see anyone, life can get pretty boring pretty quickly. The good news is we’re more well-positioned than ever in many cases to use tools to be together even if we’re not together.

Try Video Conferencing

When you’re working from home or just not getting out of the house, one of the things that helps maintain a human connection is the ability to have a face-to-face conversation. We’ve been using it to hold huge team meetings, but most consumers will have an even easier time because they just need to talk to a couple other people. Some potential solutions for this include Skype and FaceTime.

Pick Up The Phone

It doesn’t take any fancy technology to make a phone call. This is particularly important to remember in these times because one of the most vulnerable populations for this is the elderly. They may be locked down in nursing homes and retirement communities, feeling particularly isolated. What’s more, you may not be able to help them set up something for video conferencing if you can’t get to them, but anyone can pick up the phone and just talk.


If not being able to run through a workout routine with a trainer or workout buddy is bothering you, one of the things you can do is look through workout routines on YouTube. Whether you’re looking for yoga, aerobics, Pilates or weightlifting, there’s something there. You may even be able to find live sessions so that you can have a communal experience. Keep in mind that you should only exercise if you are healthy.

Schedule Breaks And Time To Socialize

One of the things we’ve been doing as a team the last several weeks that I think has helped is to schedule time during lunch when we all have the option of getting on the video chat together and just talking. We’ve even started playing games like Scattergories or charades. It’s just a good time to check up and see how everyone is doing.

If you’re not having natural person-to-person contact, it becomes all the more important to build it in to make sure you’re not isolating yourself.

Find Something You Can All Do Together

You can find things to do that conform to social distancing guidelines without having to be physically present. Maybe you watch a show together. I have friends who are watching old seasons of “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette.” I’m more a fan of “The Office” myself, but to each their own.

You could also start a virtual movie or book club. The online play options in video games are wonderful for this sort of thing. Musicians are doing live streamed concerts increasingly. I’m a big proponent of whatever makes you feel like you’re doing something with a bunch of other people even if you’re not together. Shared experiences forge the bonds that keep us together.

Another thing a bunch of the ladies on my team have talked about doing is a virtual spa time together. It comes with the bonus that a screenshot of a bunch of people in facemasks on a video conference is just about guaranteed to be a social post that’s going to make someone smile.

Make Time For A New Hobby

If there’s ever anything you wanted to do that you didn’t have time for, now’s your chance. If you wanted to learn how to knit or crochet or make models, now is the time. Personally, I got this really realistic baseball management video game and I’ve come to the conclusion that while everyone is an armchair manager, it’s harder than it looks.

This is just the start of a million things that can be done in order to make us all feel a little more human and stay connected during this time so that we can not only stay safe, but stay sane as well.

Kevin Graham

Kevin Graham is a Senior Blog Writer for Rocket Companies. He specializes in economics, mortgage qualification and personal finance topics. As someone with cerebral palsy spastic quadriplegia that requires the use of a wheelchair, he also takes on articles around modifying your home for physical challenges and smart home tech. Kevin has a BA in Journalism from Oakland University. Prior to joining Rocket Mortgage he freelanced for various newspapers in the Metro Detroit area.