From Saturday 1 August, the national guidance says people who have been shielding from coronavirus can go out to more places and see more people.
Warrington’s public health leaders, however, are reminding residents – particularly those who are clinically extremely vulnerable and have been shielding – to take extra care now the rules have been relaxed.
From 1 August, the government will pause shielding unless the transmission of COVID-19 in the community starts to rise significantly.
This means that those who have been shielding in Warrington no longer need to. They can return to work as long as the workplace is COVID-secure and can go outside to buy food, attend places of worship and exercise. Children who are clinically vulnerable can also go back to school when the rest of their classes return.
However, despite this changed position, the council continues to urge caution.
Cllr Maureen McLaughlin, Cabinet Member for Public Health, said: “Whilst the relaxed rules for people who are shielded is welcomed, the reality is that we are still living with coronavirus and must continue to observe the national guidance. I would urge extremely clinically vulnerable residents to be extra cautious and to continue – wherever possible – to avoid places that might be busy or have high footfall, and where social distancing can’t easily be observed. This is because the virus spreads easier in enclosed settings where people are in close proximity to one another.
“People who have been shielding are at risk of severe illness if they catch coronavirus, so our advice is to stay at home as much as possible and take precautions if you go out. We have seen in Leicester, for example, that people have had to continue shielding until 17 August because they are more at-risk if the virus spreads in communities. Also bear in mind the new restrictions across Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire. Please think with caution and balance before heading out.
“We know that if you have been shielding, being able to leave your house will be a big relief – and the prospect of seeing friends and family, whilst being extremely cautious, would be a huge boost. If you are going out, ensure you keep washing or sanitising your hands regularly, avoid touching your face, keep 2 metres away from people outside your household and wear a face covering when on public transport or shopping.
“I would also like to urge others who aren’t classed as clinically extremely vulnerable and who have been able to go out during the pandemic, to be mindful that over the coming weeks there may be people who have been shielding heading outside around the town centre, our shopping districts and green spaces. Please exercise even more caution and patience over the coming weeks, and play your part to help give people who have been shielding a smooth transition to this ‘new normal’.”
For anyone displaying any coronavirus symptoms – including a new, persistent cough, a high temperature or a loss of normal taste/ smell, you must stay home, self-isolate and book a test immediately.
For more information about what the new, relaxed national guidance means for people who have been shielding, visit warrington.gov.uk/shielding-guidance