Call our Helpline: 0808 808 1000

Upcoming changes to advice for people at high risk

Find out what you need to know about the changes to shielding and advice for people at high risk from coronavirus, that will be in place from Monday 6th July 2020, in England.

In England, from Monday 6th July 2020 the government’s guidance for people who are at high risk (clinically extremely vulnerable) during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic will be changing.

Further changes will be in place from Saturday 1st August 2020.

It is important to understand that although the guidance around shielding is changing, if you have been told that you are at high risk or ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ you will still be in this category after the guidance changes. You should continue to look out for updates for this category and follow the most current guidance.

Guidance for people who are at moderate risk will remain the same and they should continue to follow strict social distancing guidelines.

If you are unsure of whether you are at higher risk of coronavirus, you can find out more here.

The regulations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland may be different and you should check whether changes have been made that apply to where you live.

What is changing?

6th July 2020

In England, from Monday 6th July 2020 the government’s guidance about shielding will change. From this date, the government will be advising that people who are at high risk from coronavirus:

  • do not need to try to stay 2 metres away from people you live with
  • can meet with 1 other household if you live alone or you’re a single parent who lives alone with your children – this is called a support bubble
  • can meet outside with people you do not live with, in groups of up to 6 – as long as you stay 2 metres away from each other

People who are shielding should be able to continue to get their food and medication delivered and left outside their door, but can also ask friends or family within their support bubble to help. Priority access to supermarkets and slots for online shopping will still be available.

1st August 2020

In England, from Saturday 1st August 2020 the government will be advising that shielding will be paused. From this date, people at high risk from coronavirus will be advised to follow strict social distancing guidance.

This means that people at high risk can return to work, if they can’t work from home, as long as their workplace is safe for them to return to (COVID-19 secure).

Free essential food boxes will stop being delivered, but support from NHS volunteers and local councils should still be available. Priority access to supermarkets and slots for online shopping should also still be available past this date.

What is a support bubble?

After 6th July 2020, people at high risk who live alone (or are a single parent with children under 18) can form a support bubble with one other household.

People in a support bubble will be able to spend time together inside each other’s homes, including staying overnight, without needing to socially distance.

It is important that people within a support bubble continue to follow strict social distancing guidance with anyone outside of the support bubble.

Support bubbles must be exclusive and you cannot switch or start another bubble with a different household.

If you or someone in your support bubble begins to show coronavirus symptoms, then everyone in your support bubble must stay home and self-isolate. 

Why is the advice changing?

The UK government is relaxing their advice because the chances of encountering the virus in the community have continued to fall - one in 1,700 people are estimated to have the virus now, down from 1 in 500 four weeks ago.

The government has said that if there are any changes in the rates of infection that could impact this group then the advice on shielding could change again.

Where can I find out more?

You can keep up to date with the latest advice from the UK Government on the GOV.UK website.

The NHS website is also a useful source of information and advice.

If you would like to talk to someone, you can contact out helpline team on 0808 808 1000 (Mon to Thurs, 9am - 1pm) or via email at helpline@brainandspine.org.uk

For more information about the coronavirus and how to take care of yourself, please see our section on COVID-19.