Updated 23/06/2020 – The government has announced plans to ease guidance for the Millions of people classified as clinically extremely vulnerable and currently shielding from coronavirus (COVID-19) in England. As from 6th July they will be advised they can spend more time outside their homes and from 1st August the guidance will be further relaxed and they will no longer be advised to shield. The key points are as follows:
- Advisory guidance to be eased for 2.2 million clinically extremely vulnerable people across England, as virus infection rates continue to fall
- From Monday 6 July, those shielding from coronavirus can gather in groups of up to 6 people outdoors and form a ‘support bubble’ with another household. They will be able to spend time outdoors in a group of up to 6 people including those outside of their household, while maintaining social distancing.
- Government shielding support package will remain in place until the end of July when people will no longer be advised to shield
- Those who are shielding and live alone or are single parents with children will also be able to create a ‘support bubble’ with one other household of any size, following the same rules already in place for the wider population.
- From 1st August, the guidance will then be relaxed so clinically extremely vulnerable people will no longer be advised to shield, but support will remain available from NHS volunteers and local councils. Those who need to work and cannot do so from home will be able to return to work as long as their workplace is COVID secure, adhering to the guidance available.
- People will retain their priority for supermarket delivery slots, and still be able to access help with shopping, medication, phone calls and transport to medical appointments.
While this group of clinically extremely vulnerable people should continue to follow strict social distancing measures as well as frequent handwashing, they will be able to participate in more activities such as visiting shops and places of worship.
It is recognised that individuals unable to work from home may feel uncertain about returning to work. Mindful of this, the government is asking employers to ease the transition for their clinically extremely vulnerable employees, ensuring that robust measures are put in place for those currently shielding to return to work when they are able to do so.
For anyone concerned about returning to work once the guidance has eased, we recommend they speak with their employer to understand their specific policies in relation to COVID-19. We advise they discuss their situation, agree a plan for returning to work and adjustments that may be needed before they return.
For further government information: