Changes To Shielding From August 2020

Who This Guidance is For

This guidance is for adults and children in England who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

If you’re clinically extremely vulnerable you should have received a letter confirming this or have been told directly by your GP or hospital clinician.


If you’re clinically extremely vulnerable you were advised to take extra precautions during the peak of the pandemic in England. This is known as ‘shielding’.

The government is advising that you do not need to shield at the moment. This is because the rates of transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the community have fallen significantly.

This guidance is government advice and it’s your personal choice whether to follow it.

What Has Changed

The guidance for the clinically extremely vulnerable is that shielding has been paused. This means:

  • You do not need to follow previous shielding advice
  • You can go to work as long as the workplace is Covid-secure, but should carry on working from home wherever possible
  • Clinically extremely vulnerable children should attend education settings in line with the wider guidance on reopening of schools and guidance for full opening: special schools and other specialist settings
  • You can go outside as much as you like but you should still try to keep your overall social interactions low
  • You can visit businesses, such as supermarkets, pubs and shops, while keeping 2 metres away from others wherever possible or 1 metre, plus other precautions
  • You should continue to wash your hands carefully and more frequently than usual and that you maintain thorough cleaning of frequently touched areas in your home and/or workspace
  • You will no longer receive free food parcels, medicine deliveries and basic care from the National Shielding Service

You will still be able to get:

  • Local volunteer support by contacting your local authority
  • Prescriptions, essential items and food you buy delivered by NHS Volunteer Responders
  • Priority slots for supermarket deliveries (if you previously registered for free food parcels)

If Transmission of COVID-19 Increases

You could be advised to shield again if the situation changes and there is an increase in the transmission of COVID-19 in the community.

Your name will be kept securely on the shielded patient list by NHS Digital. We will write to you if the advice changes. Any national changes will be reflected in this guidance.

In the event of a local lockdown, see your local authority’s website for further guidance.

If you’re clinically extremely vulnerable, you are advised not to enter any area where shielding advice is in place.

If You’re in a Local Lockdown Area

If you’re clinically extremely vulnerable and live in an area where additional public health measures require you to resume shielding, the government will write to you and advise you to stay at home and shield.

If you’re unable to work from home or a location outside the lockdown area:

In the event of a local lockdown, visit your local authority’s website for further guidance and follow the public health guidance for your local area.