People shielding in Havering may still be able to use “priority shopping” slots (credit: Havering Council)
The NHS has informed nearly 10,000 people in Havering, who have underlying health conditions, that the shielding programme will be paused on Friday, 31 July unless there is a significant rise in Covid-19 cases.
New government guidance advises shielders to maintain strict social distancing if they choose to go outside. It states they should only be with members of their own household, however, those who live alone are allowed to meet one person from one other household.
Havering residents receiving NHS food parcels from their local contractor, Brakes, have also been told the service will stop at the end of the month.
“We encourage our residents coming out of the NHS shielding scheme to return to ‘normality’ and to start making alternative arrangements for their food supplies sooner, rather than later,” said Leader of Havering Council, Councillor Damian White.
“The end of July will be here all too quickly, so it is important that residents that have been shielding get back to how they managed their food shopping before they began shielding. This might mean asking friends, family or neighbours to support them, or consider looking at alternative delivery options for supermarkets they might not normally use.”
Cllr White reassured those who have no alternative that the council will continue to help them register for “priority shopping” slots until they can get back to normal.
People who are struggling to afford food may also be offered advice and referred to a food bank where suitable.
There is also a range of services available to help deal with the emotional or psychological aspects of shielding or bereavement.
Those that need support can visit the Covid 19 webpages for advice or call the Covid 19 hotline on 0800 368 5201, available Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5pm. Saturday, Sunday and bank holidays 11am to 4pm.
If there is another local lockdown, the council has promised to support those who need to shield again.
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