The health experts are recommending we keep our distance in public, up to two metres apart. Think you’re doing it? CTV News put it to the test.

We lined a two metre poll with yellow caution tape and walked the sidewalks of downtown Vancouver. The length of the stick was meant to show the safe distance to maintain, the yellow tape was to make sure no one smacked into it because two metres takes up a lot more space than even we thought.

The reaction from folks we met was mixed. One man didn’t believe it and came over to measure for himself. We had to warn him he was too close. Others were surprised they weren’t spacing themselves far enough apart.

“We’re sort of evolutionarily hardwired to connect with other people,” explained Michael Daniels, assistant professor of organizational behaviour at the UBC Sauder School of Business. “And so it goes against our nature but you know it’s something a lot of people realize, increasingly so, that they‘ll have to do.”

It can be difficult to space yourself out on city sidewalks. Some just aren’t wide enough. Perhaps just cross the street or go out at times when fewer people are out and about.

It’s particularly difficult for construction workers. We came across a bunch of guys in a road crew leaning on their shovels and chatting in a fairly close group. As I walked down the street with the yellow stick they started to move apart and stayed that way.

One worker told us to come back in a little bit and we’d probably find them huddled together again.

Daniels says it can be difficult but people can adapt when needed.

“Socially supporting each other but also holding each other accountable is one way to help that,” he said.

And when will we know if our distancing efforts are paying off?

A B.C. disease modelling expert says even though the COVID numbers are climbing, it doesn’t mean physical distancing is ineffective. Caroline Colijn says new confirmed cases indicate transmissions that happened two weeks earlier and says the benefits of the actions we are taking now will show up a week or two later.