Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): shielding advice and support

Details of shielding advice to help people make informed decisions and access support services.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): shielding advice and support
5 August 2020: Aberdeen City restrictions - please see our information page on local measures

We are advising you to be extra vigilant to keep yourself safe. Our advice on measures you take to protect yourself has not changed and we are not advising people to start shielding again. However, we are keeping the situation under constant review and will not hesitate to change our advice if we think we need to. 

Overview of shielding

We are aware of the harms that can come from shielding. We have been monitoring these impacts and weighing them up the harms against the benefits of shielding. Now that the current infection rate for coronavirus in Scotland is low enough, we can change our advice.

We are advising people who have been shielding that they currently no longer need to do so. This means that in general, people who have been shielding can now follow the same advice as everyone else in Scotland.

Who this advice applies to

This advice applies to most people who have been asked to shield. That includes any children and young people who are still on the shielding list.

It does not apply to anyone living in a residential care or nursing home. Your care home should be following the guidance for care home settings.

Depending on your individual circumstances, some of this advice may not be suitable for you. Clinicians sometimes advise individuals to avoid doing certain things. This will be because of your specific health condition or treatments. Examples include people who:

  • are waiting on an solid organ transplant
  • are having treatment for cancer or have recently completed treatment

This does not mean you are being advised to shield again because of an increase of coronavirus. You should contact your specialist care team to discuss if this advice is right for you. You should continue to follow any specific advice that your clinician provides.

Current advice

It is now safe enough for you to:

  • meet indoors with up to 8 people from 2 other households with physical distancing
  • meet outdoors with up to 15 people from 4 other households outdoors with physical distancing
  • go inside pubs and restaurants
  • attend places of worship for congregational services, communal prayer and contemplation
  • return to work or school
  • return to university of college as part of the phased return to campus
  • use formal childcare providers – this now includes children who have been shielding

This is in addition to previous guidance on:

  • stopping physically distancing from the people you live with or who are in your extended household group
  • using toilets in other people’s homes and allowing other people to use yours at home
  • use public transport wearing a face covering unless you are exempt
  • travelling further than 5 miles from home, as far as you want
  • booking all types of holiday accommodation or travelling to a second home – and staying over with people outwith your household
  • going inside shops and leisure venues wearing a face covering unless you are exempt
  • visiting outdoor public gardens
We are asking you to be especially careful about hand hygiene and physical distancing.


The national COVID-19 helpline puts people in contact with their local authority. You can call 0800 111 4000 for free. It is open Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm. The helpline will remain open even now shielding has paused.

SMS Shielding Service

We will continue to send you updates through the SMS Shielding Service. 

We are developing a COVID forecasting service for shielding. It will allow you to sign up to an SMS update telling you about your risk of being exposed to the virus in your local area. We will provide more information on this soon.

The service will carry on for as long as it’s needed. As will the national helpline. If these services are no longer needed, we’ll give you plenty of notice that they are ending.

To sign up, text the service your 10 digit CHI number. You can find the mobile number and your CHI number on the letter you have received. Do not include any other information. The Service will then check your CHI number against out records to confirm you are on the shielding list.

The SMS Shielding Service only accepts text messages. It does not take voice calls. It cannot respond to questions. It can only respond to your texts with pre-programmed replies.

If you need to speak to a person, please call the helpline.

First published: 3 Aug 2020 Last updated: 5 Aug 2020 -