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5th May 2021

Shielding Easing Tips

Many of our members have been shielding, and it was confirmed that shielding in England was paused from the 31st of March, and Scotland and Wales from 26 April. Northern Ireland is due to release full details soon.

We know that many of you may have been feeling anxious about this, so we have put together a few tips for meeting people outside.

Here are some ideas to help you get out and about as safely as possible:

Please note that these are not a replacement for the advice from your medical team, who should always be consulted if you have any concerns.

  • Don’t try to do too much at once. The first step is the hardest, especially if you have been inside for a long time. Start by going out for a short period of time and doing low-risk things, building up your confidence.
  • Don’t be afraid to say no to things that make you uncomfortable.
  • Use the knowledge you already have about your own health to help you decide what actions to take. For example, you may already have experience of avoiding infections. You can adapt these actions to help you avoid COVID-19 infection too.
  • Don’t forget to wash your hands! This is still an important and very effective way to control COVID-19, with the added bonus of preventing lots of other common bugs too.
  • Also make sure everyone else around you is following good hygiene rules, like washing their hands. The actions of those you are meeting up with will help protect you too.
  • Keep maintaining social distancing where possible, including with friends and family. Social distancing is still one of the most effective ways you can protect yourself from COVID-19, alongside good hand hygiene.
  • Wear a face covering when you go out. It is thought that face coverings do offer some protection to those wearing them, as well as the important factor of preventing you from giving COVID-19 to others too.
  • Don’t forget that most people inside shops will now be wearing coverings, as it is compulsory in shops and takeaways from the 24th of July 2020 in England and has been compulsory for some time in Scotland.
  • Continue to go out at quieter times of the day if you can.
  • If you still would like to avoid supermarkets, and have been registered with the shielding support service, you should still get priority for supermarket deliveries. Pressure on normal slots is also easing in some places if you plan ahead.
  • If you want to do a specific activity once restrictions fully lift, choose a lower risk version where possible:
    • Want to get back in the gym? Many places are still offering online classes. Or Google to see if your local park has an outdoor gym.
    • Ordered your shopping online but forgot something? Or need to do the shopping in person? Pop to a smaller local shop or go at quiet times. You could also try Prime Now, which can deliver shopping from Morrisons at no extra cost within two hours in certain urban areas, or use a takeaway app like Deliveroo or UberEats which may list delivery from shops nearby.
    • Want to see your friends and family? Meet with them outside where possible. Suggest a BBQ, a picnic, or a walk in the park.
    • Celebrating a special occasion? Ask to see the person celebrating separately or in a small group and suggest an outdoor gathering. (please remember that there may be restrictions on the number of people that can gather at once).
    • You could use a marquee with open sides if you want to be undercover from rain but allow good airflow.
    • Want to have a pint in the pub or some restaurant food? Choose a place with an outdoor space or have a takeaway. You may want to do this even when restrictions are lifted for indoor meetings.
    • Need to stay over to see faraway loved ones or want to go on holiday? You could choose self-catering accommodation so you can have the place to yourselves and control who comes in and out.