From 1 April, more than 13,000 vulnerable people in Warrington will no longer have to shield from coronavirus.

Following the government’s announcement of the roadmap for easing restrictions, new national guidance will be in place for Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) people from 1 April, advising them that they no longer need to shield.

All CEV residents will receive a letter from the government, if they haven’t had one already, advising them that the shielding guidance will be paused from next week, and providing new guidance on how to best to protect themselves.

Alongside following the national restrictions, people in the CEV group are being advised to continue to take extra precautions to keep themselves safe even if they have received both doses of the vaccine.

  • You should still work from home if you can. If this is not possible, you can return to your workplace as you will no longer be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) on the basis of being advised to shield. However, your employer may still be able to furlough you under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • You are advised that if you do leave home to go to the shops or pharmacy, you should consider going at quieter times of the day a maintain a safe distance from others

Children and young people on the shielded patient list may also return to school, college, or other educational settings.

What support is available locally?

It is important that if you have trusted family, friends or neighbours who you are able to call on for help, you should approach them if you need support.

However, if you do not have access to trusted help, you can access the council’s safe and well service. The service can help with things like:

  • if you are struggling to source food or collect prescriptions
  • if you are feeling worried or isolated and need someone to talk to
  • if you are struggling to cope with other practicalities to keep yourself safe and well

There is also support available through local volunteers – find out more about Warrington Voluntary Action's Good Neighbour scheme.

Supermarkets have committed to continuing priority access to delivery slots for CEV people already signed up for support via the National Shielding Support Service (NSSS) until 21 June, if they are registered by 31 March.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employed Income Support Service Scheme (SEISS) have both been extended until 30 September, and the £20 per week increase to Universal Credit will also remain in place until September.

If you need to self-isolate due to a positive test or through close contact with someone who tests positive for coronavirus, there is advice and guidance available on the council’s website.

Thara Raj, Director of Public Health, said: “It is completely understandable that not being required to shield may cause some worry or anxiety for people who have being following the strictest rules in order to stay safe over the past year.

“As the restrictions start to ease and you begin to leave home more often, please stay vigilant and continue to follow the guidance that remains in place to protect yourself – respect social distancing, wear a face covering, continue to wash or sanitise your hands regularly, and minimise contact with people from outside your household where possible.

 “Please also remember that there is help and support available if you have concerns or are struggling to cope. While we recommend seeking support from family and friends first, our safe and well service is available for anyone who needs extra assistance. Please visit warrington.gov.uk/safeandwell or call 01925 443322 for more information.”

In future, formal shielding will only be reintroduced in areas where case numbers are high and will be based on a recommendation from the government’s Chief Medical Officer.