Pause in shielding from beginning of August

People who have been advised to shield due to coronairus will no longer have to do so from August.

By Neil McGrory, Local Democracy Reporter
Thursday, 23rd July 2020, 2:25 pm
Deep Sea World in North Queensferry is open with social distancing measures in place. Photo: Lisa Ferguson
Deep Sea World in North Queensferry is open with social distancing measures in place. Photo: Lisa Ferguson

The chief medical officer, Dr Gregor Smith, is sending letters to those affected. The pause in shielding is due to the continued decline of Covid-19 infections in Scotland.

People moving from shielding can access advice concerning their specific conditions and further guidance will be published for people returning to work or school.

People currently shielding will be asked to follow general safety guidance as of August 1 and also maintain physical distancing and hygiene practices.

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Deputy first minister John Swinney said: “This will be a welcome and long-awaited announcement for around 180,000 people who have been shielding since the onset of the Covid-19 crisis – the implications of shielding have been enormous for every person affected, as well as their families and loved ones.

“We have reached the point where these restrictions can be eased, so that the advice for those shielding will be the same as the rest of the general public.

“Even though these changes will be welcome for some, I know many will also feel anxious and worried too.

“I want to reassure all those affected – there will be a range of guidance and information for all those moving on from shielding status, and those most at-risk will continue to receive support. I also expect employers to fully support those who are returning to work.

“We are keeping all the available evidence under review – and if there is a significant reason for a change in approach at a local or national level, we will adapt again, to keep those people most at risk in our society safe.”

There will be some changes to shielding restrictions from tomorrow (Friday, July 24).

These include meeting indoors with up to eight people from two households, as long as physical distancing is observed.

Those shielding will be able to visit indoor shops, markets and pharmacies, museums, galleries, libraries and cinemas, and attend hairdressers and barbers.

In addition, those shielding can now also use public transport, as well as taxis, as long as a face covering is worn.

More details of the changes can be found here.