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Advice for people at high risk from coronavirus (shielding)

If you're at high risk (clinically extremely vulnerable) from coronavirus (COVID-19), you were advised to take extra steps to protect yourself until 1 August 2020. This was called shielding.

In England, the risk of getting coronavirus is now low enough that you’re no longer advised to shield.

But there are still things you can do to protect yourself and others. You can also still get some support.


This advice is for people who have received a letter from the NHS saying they're at high risk from coronavirus.

If you're not sure if you're at high risk, see who's at higher risk from coronavirus.

If you live in an area with an outbreak

If you live, work or study in an area where there is a coronavirus outbreak, the advice for you may be different.

See areas with local restrictions on GOV.UK.

Work and school

Children who were shielding can go back to school when their school reopens.

If you were shielding, work from home if possible. Your employer should support you to do this.

If you cannot work from home and are concerned about having to go to work, talk to your employer. Employers should make sure suitable arrangements are in place so you can go to work.

Get a shielding note to give to your employer

If you work in an area where shielding advice is in place you may be able to get a shielding note to give to your employer.

You can use this note to claim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).


More information and advice about work

You can also get advice from Acas. Call the Acas helpline on 0300 123 1100 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm).

Going out and meeting people

You can meet other people and go out to places like shops and restaurants. You can also have visitors in your home.

You should follow the same social distancing advice as everyone else.


  • try to stay at least 2 metres (3 steps) away from anyone you do not live with (or anyone not in your support bubble)

  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds

  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available

  • wash your hands as soon as you get home

  • wear something that covers your nose and mouth in places where it's hard to stay away from other people, such as on public transport, in shops and in hospitals


  • do not meet in groups of more than 6 people, either outside or inside (including in your home)

  • do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

  • do not touch things that people you do not live with have touched, including food and drinks

Support bubbles

If you live alone or you’re a single parent who lives alone with your children, you can meet with 1 other household without staying 2 metres away from them.

This is called a support bubble.

Find out more about making a support bubble with another household on GOV.UK.

Help and support

You’re no longer able to get free food parcels, but you can get help with food and medicine deliveries from an NHS volunteer.

Call 0808 196 3646 (open 8am to 8pm) to get help from NHS Volunteer Responders.

You can also continue to get priority supermarket delivery slots.

Page last reviewed: 25 September 2020
Next review due: 2 October 2020