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How Non-Shielders Can Help Shielders

June 23, 2020

Finally, and a week later than promised (we were originally told the day of 15th June, then week of 15th June), those of us in England who have been shielding for three months were mentioned in the coronavirus update by the UK government.   Now we shielders now have a framework to work toward. Let’s break it down (someone stop the music in my head; it’s MC Hammer and I can’t stop this), in alphabetical order and in brief (TL/DR skip to the header “How to help shielders and yourself!”):


6th July – shielders are allowed to meet with a group of six other people in public once a day, with social distancing at 2 metres observed.

31st July – shielding ‘paused’ – no clarity on what this may mean.

1st August – shielders who work can return to their jobs provided it is “Covid-safe” (Matt Hancock direct quote, no instructions or information as to what that actually means nor how to achieve it but I have found a link on the government website so you can alert your employers if relevant).

Northern Ireland

6th July – can meet with up to six other people in an outdoor space; can meet up outside with one other person outside the home if they are living alone; can form a support bubble with one other household including visiting in home and overnight stays – both households otherwise shielded.

31st July – shielding paused, subject to review.


31st July – shielding to end, subject to review.


16th August – shielding to end, subject to review

How To Help Shielders AND Yourself!

What we need in order to be able to do any of the above is NOT for things to go back to normal for everyone else.  In order to be safe in leaving shielding conditions, we need you to:HOW TO HELP SHIELDERS

  1. Maintain social distancing at 2 metres (6 ½ feet – I’m erring on the side of caution).
  2. Use face masks at all times when in public areas.
  3. Wash your hands for 20 seconds, as often as possible and whenever you are returning from a public space.
  4. Use hand sanitiser whenever you are IN a public place, not just having been to a public space. You are touching surfaces etc. and no-one can tell who a coronavirus carrier may be.
  5. Don’t gather in large groups, or if you do, let people know you have so shielders can avoid you for at least two weeks.
  6. If sitting in small groups in a park, try to leave sufficient space for people to walk between you whilst maintaining social distancing. Four metres would be good (approx. twelve to thirteen feet).
  7. Be aware of your surroundings and people sharing your space. There are 2.2 million of us in the UK and we probably don’t look like we need to be shielded because you can’t tell what a person’s health is by looking at them.
  8. Be properly informed. This useful photo from the Leukaemia Cares charity’s recent webinar is very helpful in rooting out false/mis-information.

Coronavirus-how to spot misinformation

Shielding covers myriad health categories; we are all undertaking our own personal risk assessments which is dependent on many factors such as where we live, our age, our employment, our ability to be outside (city/suburb/rural) as well as our medical conditions.  It’s not as simple as just doing what the government says.

We really need you to follow the above eight simple rules for being outside now.  If non-shielders remember and act as if there are still people who are extremely vulnerable in the community (because there are) that it will mean the new cases reduce faster and we are ALL as one large community taking care of each other.  It means this will all be over sooner.

The acts which help us help you.  This is what we need you to do, so, please, do it.

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