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One metre or two?

June 22, 2020

One metre or two?

This question is a deciding factor in the future and faith of many businesses across the UK over the coming months…

Lets start by saying there are tons of opinions and fears across the British nation with many people still living in fear of coronavirus spread while others are sick and tired of months of isolation and somewhat questionable advice and not the greatest guidance from the government. Majority of the sick and tired ones are dreaming of having a pint of beer in the pub while watching a football game or dressing up for a nice dinner out with a group of friends or going to a festival and just dancing their troubles away. Who would have thought these regular simple things can make such a difference?

Can you remember the best feeling of sipping an ice cold beer in a buzzing pub on a Friday night after work? Well… unfortunately, the 2 metres rule may mean we won’t have that feeling for a while. To stay in business many of the smaller pubs and restaurants depend on being packed during peak times, but sadly having 6 tables instead of 30 doesn’t exactly scream packed. The same goes for event venues. Smaller venues will have to slash their capacities by more than half, which will put a lot of strain on these venues, often owned by small independent businesses. Unfortunately, being one of those businesses with several conference venues in London, we share this pain with the rest of the industry, so we decided to look at the worldwide picture and science to figure out what’s the right thing to do in order to help the industry, but also ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the nation is still the main priority…


The distancing can be traced back to 1930s when William F. Wells studied infectious diseases like tuberculosis at Harvard University. His experiments showed that most droplets sprayed from the mouth tend to fall to the ground after between one and two metres. Saying that, The Lancet study which was published in a medical journal suggests that the best way to limit the spread of infection is keeping at least 1 metre distance. According to this study the chances of spreading the infection is estimated to be 13% when distancing just 1 metre from other people, the risk is reduced to only 3% beyond 1 metre. The risk is reduced by half with every extra metre.

In the laboratory, researchers are investigating how the virus floats through the air in the form of tiny aerosol droplets that are basically just suspended in the air. One experiment described how it lingered for up to three hours in the air while computer simulations run by Dimitris Drikakis and Talib Dbouk from the University of Nicosia in Cyprus showed that at wind speeds of 4 to 15 km/h, saliva droplets could travel up to six metres.

The little evidence that is available shows that physical distance does matter when it comes to breaking the chains of person-to-person transmissions, and the whole scientific community agrees that at least 1 metre distance should be observed along with other measures of hygiene, good ventilation, one way systems and PPE. Collectively these measures will safely guide the economy back on it’s feet.


Only 3 countries in the world have enforced 2 metres distance – UK, Spain and Canada, the rest of the world have opted for shorter distances:

1 metre – China, Denmark, France, Hong Kong, Lithuania, Singapore

1.4 metres – South Korea

1.5 metres – Australia, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal

1.8 metres – US

With such dense population we have in the larger UK cities, especially London, can we really keep the 2 metres distance? Public transport, local shops, narrow sidewalks… is it realistic to always maintain 2 metres away from other people? Perhaps the latest advice of using face coverings and enhanced hygiene along with 1 metre distance is the way forward? If the science says this is a safe way of controlling the spread, maybe we should give the hospitality sector and events industry a chance to bloom again?


Here, at Cavendish Venues, we are preparing for reopening of our venues – updated health and safety processes, enhanced cleaning schedules, protective wear, one way systems, sanitising stations, social distancing, aircon maintenance etc..

We are ready to open our doors to the public once again, so if you are looking for conference venues, meeting rooms, training rooms, workshop venues or any other event spaces, please do get in touch! If you are concerned about room capacities, we are working with an amazing software and can produce detailed seating plans with social distancing rules applied. We also have the best range of virtual events available. Whether you’d like to combine your physical location with interactive virtual presence and run a hybrid conference or just a simple web streaming, we have the tech, the team and extensive experience to make your event a success!

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