Shielding guidance to change across the UK in August

Tuesday 28 July 2020

Updated: 4 August 2020

From the end of July in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland and later in August in Wales, shielding guidance for vulnerable people is coming to an end.

Here we summarise the changes across the UK.


Shielding is being paused from Saturday 1 August.

This means that support such as food parcels and medicine deliveries will come to an end. However, other forms of support – such as priority supermarket delivery slots and the NHS Volunteers Scheme, amongst a range of local volunteer schemes – will continue.

Children who are clinically extremely vulnerable can return to their education settings if they are eligible and in line with their peers. Where possible children should practise frequent hand washing and social distancing.

See the government’s full shielding guidance.

However, the easing of restrictions will not apply for those currently shielding in:

  • Blackburn with Darwen
  • Blaby and Charnwood
  • Luton
  • Leicester City
  • Wigston
  • Oadby

The government has written out to those living in these areas who are affected setting out the advice that applies locally.

Northern Ireland

It is anticipated that shielding will be paused in Northern Ireland from Friday 31 July.

If you are shielding and have previously registered your need for a food box through the Community Helpline you will automatically continue to receive this until 31 July 2020.

For those not shielding but who were getting a weekly food box this will have ended on 26 June.

If you are concerned about support after 31 July, you can contact the Covid-19 Community Helpline:

See full shielding guidance at NIDirect.


Shielding will be pausing in Scotland from Saturday 1 August.

This will mean that people shielding can follow the same guidance as the rest of Scotland. To stay safe, people coming out of shielding should strictly follow physical distancing and hygiene measures.

From 1 August, the government expects that it will be safe enough for:

  • Children to return to school.
  • Adults to return to work.
  • Students to return to university or college as part of the phased return to campus.
  • Anyone to go inside pubs and restaurants.
  • Anyone to attend places of worship for congregational services, communal prayer and contemplation.

There is particular guidance for children and young people who have been shielding.

See full shielding guidance in Scotland.


In Wales, those most at risk from coronavirus can stop shielding from Sunday 16 August.

Measures will be kept under review in case of a rise in transmission levels, as some form of shielding might become necessary again if the virus increases.

From 16 August, some of the support for people shielding will end, such as the weekly box scheme. But supermarkets will still offer priority slots to people particularly vulnerable to Covid-19.

A prescription delivery service will remain in place until 30 September.

The chief medical officer will be writing to everyone in the shielding group about this update.

Full guidance is at

Social distancing badge

Health boards in Wales have received new social distancing badges to help identify and protect vulnerable people who have been shielding for months from coronavirus.

The pin badge is intended as a “polite prompt” to others to maintain a respectful distance, as lockdown restrictions continue to ease.