What are the new rules for shielders?

Matt Hancock has announced a new wave of measures for those shielding in England to allow them greater freedom.

The health secretary says the new protocols for approximately 2.2 million people will come into place on 6 July, subject to clinical advice.

A further relaxation of measures will take place on 1 August.

Shielders will be permitted to meet up with a maximum of six people outside of their homes while maintaining social distancing. However, there will no longer be a requirement to keep apart from those within one's household. Adults living alone or with dependents under the age of 18, will be allowed to form a support bubble with another household.

  • What can people in the support bubble do?

For within a support bubble, they will allowed to spend time in each other's homes, including overnight stays without the necessity to social distance.

People will be allowed to form support bubbles. Credit: PA
  • What will change from 1 August?

The advice to shield will be paused. Instead people will be required to adopt strict social distancing policies as opposed to fully shielding. It will mean that those impacted will be permitted to go out to more places and have contact with a greater number of people, although care should be taken when meeting those outside of your household or bubble.

  • Can I go to work?

Yes, if you cannot work from home and the company is Covid-safe. GP Mousumi Mukherjee offers her advice on how shielders can stay safe

  • Can my children go back to school?

Yes, children who are clinically extremely vulnerable will be allowed to return to educational settings in line with other students. Children should keep social distancing within school and frequently wash hands.

Credit: PA
  • Where can I go?

Visiting supermarkets and places or worship will be allowed, while exercising outside will also be permitted. Although, social distancing guidelines should be followed.

  • Will I still receive my food and medicine boxes?

No. The system will end at the start of August, as those it helps will be allowed to do their own shopping. However, primary delivery slots will be made available to those previously shielding and NHS Volunteers Scheme will continue. If anyone is concerned, they should contact their local authority.

The categorisation of ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ will remain in place and people in this cohort should continue to follow the guidance specific to them, available here.