From 1 August, the government will pause shielding unless the transmission of COVID-19 in the community starts to rise significantly.

This means:

  • you no longer have to shield
  • the support from the National Shielding Service of free food parcels, medicine deliveries and care will stop
  • NHS Volunteer Responders will carry on delivering the food you buy, prescriptions and essential items to you if you need it

Keep extra cautious

Although these restrictions have been lifted, you may still be at risk of severe illness if you catch coronavirus, so stay at home as much as you can and continue to take precautions when you do go out. Consider whether leaving your home is absolutely necessary, because you will still be at risk of serious illness if you catch the virus. It’s also important to remember to:

  • wash your hands regularly
  • avoiding touching your face
  • keep 2 metres away from people outside of your household or bubble wherever possible
  • wear a face covering when going to the supermarket or shops

What you can do from 1 August:

  • you can go to work, as long as the workplace is COVID-secure – but carry on working from home if you can
  • take children who are clinically extremely vulnerable back to school (when the rest of their class goes back)
  • you can go outside to buy food, to places of worship and for exercise. Keep 2 metres away wherever possible and don’t forget to take a face covering with you

Setting-specific advice for people who are no longer shielding

Supermarkets and shops
  • You’ll need to wear a face covering when you go shopping, unless you’re exempt.
  • You might have to queue outside as shops are limiting the number of customers at a time.
  • Some normal shopping items may be unavailable.
  • Please only touch what you want to buy - this prevents contamination and possible transmission of the virus.
  • Some shops will have a one-way system in place – follow the signage in-store.
  • There might be a longer queue at the till, or you may be told to wait in a certain place.
  • You may find plastic screens at tills to create a barrier between customers and the till. You should still, in most cases, be able to load the conveyor belt and pay as usual.
  • Some staff will be wearing PPE, such as face masks.
  • Some shops will have floor markings to encourage customers to keep their distance – make sure to observe the in-store signage.
  • Make sure to check local shopping centres and districts, like Golden Square, for their own information and guidance before setting off.
Doctors, hospitals, dentists and opticians
  • If you need medical attention from your GP, or if you need to visit the dentist, don’t be deterred by coronavirus if you need help.
  • Most appointments are still taking place over the phone.
  • Staff will be wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), including face masks and gloves. Some may also be wearing aprons, shoe covers and plastic face shields.
  • You will be asked to wear PPE. Each surgery is different, but this will be a face mask as a minimum.
  • A&E is still open. In an emergency you should still attend as normal.
  • If possible (for example if your injury needs treatment but is not an emergency) call NHS 111 before attending hospital.
  • You may need to stay in the hospital waiting area on your own (for example if you arrive with your partner they may be asked to wait in the car).
  • There are a number of restrictions on visiting people in hospital. You should contact the ward you wish to visit for details of the restrictions they have in place.
  • You must use hand sanitiser when you arrive, when you leave and at regular intervals whilst you are at the hospital.
  • It is crucially important that you do not attend any medical or dentist setting if you have any coronavirus symptoms including a new, persistent cough, a high temperature or a loss of normal taste/ smell.
Public transport
  • Face masks are mandatory for all people over the age of 11, but you do not have to wear one if you have a health condition that makes you exempt. You can remove your face mask if you need to eat, drink or take medication whilst travelling.
  • Check your travel provider before heading out to see what safety measures are in place. Warrington’s Own Buses, for example, now provide contactless payment which is a safer way of paying for your ticket
  • Check timetables before you leave, as some routes may be running reduced services.
  • Keep your distance from other passengers wherever possible
  • Many companies now have contactless payment options and some are not accepting cash, so always check ahead or call each provider’s customer service line.
Restaurants, pubs and cafes
  • Pubs, restaurants and cafes started to reopen from 4 July.
  • Many places will have removed some tables in order so that customers can keep socially distanced. Some venues will only be operating a takeaway service and others may only be allowing outdoor dining – so it’s best to check with each individual venue
  • Customers will have to order from their table or via an app at most restaurants.
  • Most restaurants are asking customers to book in advance; you may have to limit the size of your table to six people, and might only be allowed to stay for two hours.
  • You will have to leave your name, address and telephone number at restaurants and pubs. This is so that contact tracers can contact you if you have been exposed to the coronavirus.
  • Some pubs and restaurants are operating a ‘one in, one out’ system for their toilets.
  • It’s best to check what safety measures each venue has in place before visiting
Libraries and leisure
Seeing family and friends
  • If you live by yourself or are a single parent with dependent children then you can form a ‘support bubble’. This allows you to mix with one other household of any size as though you were living together. You can stay overnight, do not have to keep social distance, and can visit as often as you like.
  • You must not change who is in your bubble or have close contact with anyone else you do not live with. If anyone in your bubble develops symptoms of coronavirus everyone in the bubble must self-isolate for 14 days.
  • Two households can meet indoors at any one time, but you must keep social distance. For example, you can meet family members at their home but you should sit on separate sofas and not hug each other.

Further guidance and information

Visit the gov.uk shielding webpage.