COUNCIL Leader Louise Gittins is urging residents to remain vigilant following new shielding guidance from the Government during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council said: “I would like to pay tribute to the 14300 residents of Cheshire west who have been following the difficult but necessary health advice and ‘shielding’ by self -isolating at home, and in some cases within their own households, since March.
“I’d like to thank council staff, community and voluntary organisations, health colleagues, partner agencies, businesses, mutual aid groups and good neighbours who have been involved in the huge network behind the community response to support and protect those who are shielding.
“We understand that many people will be feeling anxious now that changes in shielding advice have been announced. We want to reassure you that your safety will continue to be paramount. The council will continue to provide support for those facing hardship, our contact centre telephone lines will remain open beyond 1st August and we will continue to support those who need it the most.
“We all need to stay vigilant to the risk of a second wave of infection. We all need to continue to play our part in adhering to guidance, respecting social distancing rules, wearing face coverings on public transport and washing our hands. Our message continues to be to stay safe and protect our communities. We hope there will not be a need for this group to return to being shielded.”
The 2.2 million people who have been self-isolating in England during the pandemic will no longer need to shield from 1 August.
From 6 July, they will be able to meet up outdoors, in a group, with up to five others and form ‘support bubbles’ with other households.
The measures can be eased because infection rates are falling, the government says.
Support packages will remain until the end of July to help people transition.
What changes from 6 July?
Those who are shielding and live alone in England – including single parents who are shielding – will be able to create a support bubble with one other household of any size.
This follows the ‘social bubble’ rules which were introduced earlier this month for anyone living alone and single-parent households.
People shielding will also be able to meet in groups of up to six outdoors while maintaining social distancing rules.
What is changing from 1 August?
Extremely vulnerable people who are most at risk from becoming ill from coronavirus will no longer need to shield in England.
That means they can return to work, if they can’t work from home, as long as their workplace is COVID secure.
However, they should still follow social distancing guidelines when outside their homes and wash their hands regularly to reduce the risk of being infected.
The changes mean those shielding will no longer be eligible for statutory sick pay – unless they develop coronavirus symptoms, or someone they know develops symptoms, and they are told to self-isolate and cannot work from home.
Free essential food boxes will stop being delivered, but support from NHS volunteers and local councils is still possible.
They will still qualify for priority slots for online shopping and will be offered help with medicine deliveries and getting to medical appointments.