From Saturday 1 August thousands of residents in Torbay who have been shielding during the pandemic will be able to enjoy more freedom.
The government are pausing shielding and are advising that this group follow strict social distancing guidelines rather than full shielding measures.
Strict social distancing means people who were shielding may wish to go out to more places and see more people. They should though take particular care to minimise contact with others outside their household or support bubble.
This means that from 1 August those currently shielding can:
Go to work, if they are unable to work from home, as long as the business is Covid-19 safe.
Go outside to buy food, to attend places of worship and for exercise, keeping two metres away from others as much as possible.
Children who are clinically extremely vulnerable can return to their education settings when the rest of their class goes back.
People who were shielding may still be at greater risk of serious illness if they catch coronavirus so should continue to stay at home as much as they can. Taking precautions, like handwashing and keeping two metres from others, when going out is highly recommended.
All actively shielding residents who have been supported by the Torbay Shielding Hub, which has now been stood down, have been written to by the Council. This letter provides further advice for those who have continued to require support from the Council, NHS and the voluntary sector to support their transition out of shielding.
More information about the Shielding Hub.
Torbay’s Shielding Hub has been a successful joint initiative between Torbay Council, Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, and the local voluntary sector.
Over the period of lockdown it has offered support to a total of 6,868 extremely vulnerable residents. The hub has made 18,417 calls to enable support, helping with many needs that the community has had over the ongoing pandemic. This has included the provision of 831 food parcels which contained recipe leaflets and information about keeping healthy during lockdown.
Councillor Jackie Stockman, Cabinet Member for Adults and Public Health, said: “Those who have been shielding and classed as extremely vulnerable have faced the biggest restrictions on their freedom and have had to make significant sacrifices during this extremely difficult period.
“We are very pleased that infection levels are low enough to enable people who were shielding to live more normal home and work lives. However, it is still important that they take care to follow handwashing and social distancing guidance, especially when out and about, to minimise any risk of infection.”
The Shielding Hub will pause operation on the evening of Friday 31 July.
The Torbay Community Helpline, run by the local voluntary sector, will continue to be available on 01803 446022. Lines are open from 10 am until 6 pm from Monday to Friday and on Saturdays between 9.30 am and 12.30 pm, or online at www.bit.ly/torbayhelpline. Services available from them include a befriending service and companionship, collection of pensions, prescriptions and food, family support, financial advice and mental health support
For more information on support with food deliveries, shopping and medicines and other community groups near you who might be able to support visit: www.torbay.gov.uk/health-and-wellbeing/public-health/coronavirus/community-help/
You can watch a video about the work carried out by the Torbay Shielding Hub here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXv82WuaOr4
More information is available on the government website.
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