People who are shielding during the coronavirus pandemic are being reminded of changes to Government guidance which came into effect this week.

Clinically extremely vulnerable people who have been shielding since March are now allowed to gather in groups of up to 6 people outdoors while maintaining social distancing.

In addition, shielders who live alone or are single parents with children can now create a ‘support bubble’ with one other household of any size, following the guidance in place for the safe operation of support bubbles.

The Government shielding support package will remain in place until the end of July. From Saturday 1 August, the guidance will be relaxed with clinically extremely vulnerable people no longer be advised to shield, but support will remain available from NHS volunteers and local councils. 

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 clinically extremely vulnerable people should continue to follow strict social distancing measures and continue to remain home as much as possible, from 1 August they will be able to take part in more everyday activities like shopping and visiting places of worship. And from 1 August, 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 latest guidance available. For full details, please visit GOV.UK.   

John Denley, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Director of Public Health, said: "Shielding has been incredibly important in protecting some of our most vulnerable residents from coronavirus. We know how difficult it has been for people to do, and the impact this may have had on their mental health, and I would like to thank everyone for their commitment to the programme.

"Cases of Covid-19 in Wolverhampton remain low and stable and, as the prevalence of Covid-19 in the community continues to fall, the advice for shielders has started to be relaxed to enable them to regain some normality to their lives. 

"If you are shielding and you feel able to, you should now take advantage of the greater freedoms available to you, such as meeting with others or, if you are on your own or a single parent, forming a support bubble with another household.

"The Government will continue to monitor the evidence closely and adjust the advice accordingly if there are any changes in the rates of infection that could impact on clinically vulnerable residents."

Meanwhile all residents are reminded they must continue to follow social distancing guidelines to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Everyone must: 

  • stay at home as much as possible
  • work from home if you can
  • limit contact with other people
  • keep your distance if you go out (2m, or 1m-plus is 2m is not possible)
  • wash your hands regularly
  • stay at home and self-isolate if you or anyone in your household has symptoms of coronavirus

The latest information and guidance around coronavirus is available at GOV.UK and on the council’s own coronavirus pages at Coronavirus advice and information. There’s lots of advice on how people can protect themselves and their families from coronavirus from the NHS at Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The council’s Stay Safe, Be Kind campaign offers clear and simple advice about how people can help themselves, and how they can support others who may be particularly vulnerable at this time. For more information, please visit Stay Safe, Be Kind.