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Residents who are shielding

People with serious underlying health conditions who are most at risk of severe illness from coronavirus have been strongly advised by the government to self-isolate. However, significant changes to the shielding programme were announced on 22 June.

Next steps for those shielding

The government has now announced the next steps for those shielding, which include being able to spend time with more people outside your household and an indication of when shielding will end for people in England.

As shielding is lifted, it’s vital that you continue to follow strict social distancing to protect yourself from coronavirus.

For those people shielding from 6 July:

  • you may meet in a group of up to six people outdoors, including people from different households. You must maintain social distancing at all times to protect yourself and others
  • you no longer need to observe social distancing with other members of your household
  • if you live alone or are a single parent, you may also form a ‘support bubble’ with one other household of any size. This means you can meet indoors as well as outdoors, be less than two metres apart and stay overnight.

From 1 August, the government will likely advise that shielding is paused, and instead you will be asked to strictly follow social distancing. It is strongly advised that you remain cautious and continue to stay at home where possible.

From 1 August:

  • you can go to work if you can’t work from home, as long as the business is COVID-secure
  • you can go outside to buy food, go to places of worships and for exercise
  • children who are extremely vulnerable can return to school if they are in eligible year groups.

If you currently receive medicine deliveries and food boxes from the government, this will continue until the end of July. After this time, you will still be able to access priority supermarket delivery slots if you are signed up for this service. You can register online at gov.uk or call 0800 028 8327.

Support for vulnerable residents self-isolating

If you are shielding and are worried about any aspect of your physical or mental health, or have questions about the advice above, please speak to your GP who is looking forward to talking to you. Please ring your practice, or if you are having difficulties using a phone yourself ask a family member to call on your behalf.


If you are a Tower Hamlets resident shielding and need support with food shopping, collection of medication or Personal Protective Equipment, help is available through our dedicated phoneline.

The phoneline can also be used for advice on finance and support with social isolation.

Online self-isolation form

People who are shielding can also use our online self-isolation form to let us know about support they need.

Once you have completed the form, someone from the council will be in contact to discuss your needs.

Please remember shielding is working and it remains the most effective way of protecting yourself. Limit going outdoors as much as possible and be cautious when you do.

Wherever possible, keep in touch with people on the telephone, and online (if you have internet access).

Working with voluntary and community sector

We are also working closely with the voluntary and community sector in Tower Hamlets to provide a wider offer, including befriending services.

See a full list of local support organisations with contact details.