#DistanceAware campaign to encourage respect of social space

A new NHS initiative is aiming to help people politely prompt ongoing distancing and respect of individual social space.

The #DistanceAware campaign is based around the use of a badge, in the shape of a shield, that allows people to subtly remind others to keep their distance.

It can be used by anyone, but is especially useful for those who feel nervous or anxious about being in public – for example, if you’ve previously been shielding due to PH.

A spokesperson for the scheme said: “Since COVID-19 there has been a new focus on the need to maintain social distancing. While the public has made great efforts at this as with all things that require ongoing conscious efforts – people get tired. This coupled with increased anxiety of many who feel vulnerable, the virus still being present in our communities and the shielding period coming to an end, has made a number of individuals explore the concept of polite prompting of others by a means of self-identifying with a badge or similar.”

A Google poll of 1749 people in late June found that over 91% thought it was a good idea to have a badge or similar available to enable individuals to self-identify, with over 95% believing this choice could help those who feel vulnerable during the upcoming transition period.

Of those who took part in the poll, 99% said that if they saw a badge/pin they recognised they would respect someone’s space and keep their distance.

The symbol can be accessed and downloaded via the Bevan Commission website here.

You can order lanyards and cards via their partners here

Last medically reviewed: September, 2020 • September, 2023