From today (1 April), the most clinically vulnerable in Halton will no longer have to ‘shield’ at home from Covid-19.
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 advising them that the shielding guidance that has been in place since the start of the national lockdown, will be paused from 1 April, 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.
Talking about the pausing of shielding, Halton Borough Council’s Chief Executive, David Parr said “The past year has been particularly tough for our clinically vulnerable residents, who have had to do so much to adapt and change their way of life, to stay safe from this virus.
“This pausing of shielding will come as a relief for some, but it is understandable that there will be others who may be worried or anxious, having followed such strict rules for such a long time.
“As we start to see restrictions ease, more people moving about and those who have stayed indoors leaving home more, it will be even more important that people who have been shielding remain vigilant to continue to stay safe. But we must all, as a community, do our bit too to continue to keep our most vulnerable people and each other safe – that means respecting social distancing, wearing a face covering, continuing to wash or sanitise hands regularly, and minimising contact with people from outside of our household where possible.
“Please also remember that there is help and support available if you have concerns or are really struggling to cope. While we recommend seeking support from family, friends or a volunteer first, details of other support and information is available at www.onehalton.uk/shieldedsupport. You can also call the Council on 0303 333 4300.”
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, for people who 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.
For those who 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.
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.