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16 Photos of Social-Distancing Symbols from Around the World

From miniature airplanes to oversized stuffed animals, cities around the world are using various tools and symbols to make people stay safely apart.

Coronavirus - Mon Sep 28, 2020Dominic Lipinski - PA Images/Getty Images

Keep your distance

It’s safe to say that people all around the world are a whole lot more familiar with how long six feet, or 1.5 to two meters, is than they were a year ago. As the CDC’s recommended distance for stopping the airborne spread of the COVID-19 virus between people, it’s been ingrained into our minds whenever we venture into public spaces. This is mostly thanks to social-distancing markers, which stores, restaurants, schools, and all sorts of other places have placed on the ground. And as the pandemic shows no signs of slowing down, it seems like they’ll be semi-permanent features. But these images of distancing markers around the world at least convey a sense of uniformity—even as different countries put their own spin on the symbols, like these pink lines in London. Plus, check out more photos that will define the era of social distancing.

Daily Life Amid Coronavirus Pandemic In IndiaHindustan Times/Getty Images

India

In September, women and men waiting to take the Pre-Teacher Education Test (PTET) stand six feet apart in Jaipur, India. Would-be educators must pass this test to gain admission to a Bachelor of Education course. This photo shows that white circles on the ground are a good go-to for social-distancing markers. Find out the biggest ways teachers have been going above and beyond during COVID-19.

Cinemas In China Prepare For ReopeningChina News Service/Getty Images

China

Well, these are the cutest social-distancing markers we’ve ever seen! This movie theater in Changsha, China, is trying to brighten people’s spirits during the pandemic by filling seats with these dapper stuffed animals. That’s certainly one way to make sure people sit safely apart from one another! This theater reopened in July of this year. Check out these coronavirus photos that could end up in history books.

Arrows indicating Social distancing guide on sidewalk, New York CityEducation Images/Getty Images

New York

New York City was utterly battered at the beginning of the pandemic, remaining the epicenter for much of March and April. But New Yorkers have turned things around and, thus far, kept their numbers low since then. These bright pink-and-yellow sidewalk markers show people how far apart to stand outside of a church. Read some true stories that show what happens when you don’t social distance.

Coronavirus Emergency In BrazilNurPhoto/Getty Images

Brazil

 

Spray-painted social-distancing markers on this Rio de Janeiro escalator show people which steps they can and can’t stand on. Green footprints indicate where to stand and red footprints with lines through them show where to give space. This photo was taken on June 19. At the time, stores had to operate at 30 percent capacity, including the Mercadão de Madureira shopping center where this photo was taken.

SKOREA-HEALTH-VIRUSJUNG YEON-JE/Getty Images

South Korea

Guests at Seoul’s Gyeongbokgung Palace adhere to social distancing while documenting a performance by royal guards. These distancing markers are white semicircles, and the spectators all have their masks on for even more protection. These facts will convince you it’s important to wear a face mask.

THAILAND-HEALTH-VIRUS-EDUCATIONROMEO GACAD/Getty Images

Thailand

 

This school in Bangkok is taking no chances when it comes to social distancing! On June 19, returning students sit on a bench marked with red tape; red lines and X’s show where they can and can’t sit. More red tape, on the floor, marks arrows to create one-way walkways. Add the hanging banner promoting social distancing, and you’ve got a school that leaves no ambiguity with regards to COVID safety! Here’s what one U.S. teacher is most worried about now that she’s back in school.

FRANCE-HEALTH-VIRUSSEBASTIEN SALOM-GOMIS/Getty Images

France

 

These simple yellow footprints match the yellow line to stand behind for safety at this tram stop in Nantes. Though the station is pretty deserted here—this was on May 8, only days before France’s lockdown was eased—the number of footprint social-distancing markers show how crowded this spot can get and strive to keep it safe. And it’s still more lively than these creepy abandoned subway stations.

KUWAIT-HAWALLI GOVERNORATE-COVID-19Xinhua News Agency/Getty Images

Kuwait

At a government department in the Hawalli Governorate of Kuwait, these gold markers with black footprints show you exactly where to stand! Employees and customers alike wear face masks as they conduct transactions.

El Salvador Economic Reopening Amid Coronavirus PandemicAPHOTOGRAFIA/Getty Images

El Salvador

More footprints, these yellow and enclosed by a yellow circle, show people where to stand by an elevator in a San Salvador shopping mall. Its colorful pink hand sanitizer station looks pretty familiar to people all around the world, too. Find out the things you absolutely shouldn’t do at reopened shopping malls.

Coronavirus Lockdown Eases Further In WalesMatthew Horwood/Getty Images

Wales

These hard-to-ignore social-distancing markers aren’t in any public place—they’re just showing people where to safely walk on a regular Welsh street! You could find these bright yellow people with arrows indicating space between them on St. Mary’s Street in Cardiff in August. We have a feeling it’s not intentional, but we love how this pedestrian’s shoes match nonetheless!

VIETNAM-LIFESTYLEMANAN VATSYAYANA/Getty Images

Vietnam

People must stand socially distant while waiting to use ATMs in this Hanoi mall. Above the white footprints emblazoned on red squares, a warning in both Vietnamese and English tells people to maintain a distance of two meters.

TOPSHOT-KENYA-HEALTH-VIRUS-TRANSPORTYASUYOSHI CHIBA/Getty Images

Kenya

Not only is this social distancing reminder on a wall, not the ground, we also love the way it’s incorporated into artwork! A woman walks past this mural, found in the Kibera neighborhood of Nairobi, on July 15. And as a bonus, the mural promotes hand-washing as well! COVID is only one of 15 diseases you can prevent just by washing your hands

Airports During CoronavirusBoston Globe/Getty Images

Boston

At Boston’s Logan International Airport, people wait for their luggage after a flight. We think it’s fascinating that they’re standing on or near these social-distancing symbols, blue circles with orange footprints that say “Stand Here, Maintain Distance,” even though there are only a few people at the baggage carousel here. It looks like habitual social distancing is here to stay for a while—here are 12 things you won’t see in airports anymore.

England Relaxes Strictest Aspects Of Coronavirus LockdownJustin Setterfield/Getty Images

England

These social-distancing symbols, located on a popular shopping street in Dalston, sure aren’t subtle! “2 METRES” is written in pink spray paint every, well, two meters, and the bright pink lines show pedestrians exactly how far that is. Here’s how you should handle social distancing rule-breakers, according to etiquette experts.

CHILE-HEALTH-VIRUSMARTIN BERNETTI/Getty Images

Chile

Instead of white circles, this Chilean park uses white hexagons to show people where to stay when they come to the public space. This July photo shows the space, located in the city of Santiago, on a less crowded day. Next, get a look at these photos showing how social distancing around the world compares to America.

 

Meghan Jones
Meghan Jones is a Staff Writer for RD.com who has been writing since before she could write. She graduated from Marist College with a Bachelor of Arts in English and has been writing for Reader's Digest since 2017. In spring 2017, her creative nonfiction piece "Anticipation" was published in Angles literary magazine. She is a proud Hufflepuff and member of Team Cap.