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Restrictions set to ease for shielders

Nicola Sturgeon hopes to be able to announce a pause on shielding by the end of this month.

Restrictions are to ease for those who are shielding, as the prevalence of COVID-19 continues to reduce.

From Friday, people who have been shielding throughout the coronavirus pandemic can stay in any holiday accommodation including hotels and bed and breakfasts, as well as visiting outdoor markets and public gardens.

Non-cohabiting couples will also be able to meet without physical distancing, even if one or both are shielding, and even if neither lives on their own.

Those who are shielding represent among the most vulnerable members of community and those at greatest risk of serious ill-health should they become infected with COVID-19.

Nicola Sturgeon says the Scottish Government hopes to be able to pause the need for shielding by the end of July — but she encourage shielders to “take extra care in things such as physical distancing and hygiene”.

“I know that the prospect of returning to something more like your normal lives will be welcome for many of you, if not all of you, but I appreciate that it is also likely to be quite daunting,” Ms Sturgeon said during her daily briefing today.

The Scottish Government has asked the UK Government to ensure ongoing financial support for anyone who has been shielding, and who may not be able to go back to work, or to work from home.

She urged employers to be “sensitive” to the concerns of employees who may be shielding.

“If it turns out that we are able to confirm next week that shielding will be paused from July 31, please reach out to people who might be going back to work; have honest conversations about how you can support them; and try to think creatively about how you can make your workplace safer for them.

“As I’ve said before, the relaxation of shielding measures is good news, but it will be prompting some understandable stress and anxiety. All of us can take sometimes small steps, that might make a big difference for people who are shielding.”

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