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
Daily activities

Daily activities

Exercise and physical activity

Staying active can be good for your mental health and wellbeing. When you are feeling able to, we encourage you to go outside in the fresh air. This could be to go for a walk, wheel or to take part in another outdoor activity.

If you have not been very active for the last few months, you may wish to take things slowly at first. NHS Inform has advice on safe ways to be active either at home or outdoors. This includes gentle exercises to improve strength and balance.

If you choose to go outdoors to be active, you can:

  • do whatever level of physical activity feels comfortable for you
  • go for a run, wheel, walk or cycle as much as you want
  • take part in a non-contact outdoor sport or activity, such as exercise classes, golf, hiking, canoeing, outdoor swimming, fishing etc.


You can choose to go inside shops including supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres and indoor markets. You will need to wear a face covering unless you are exempt.

To stay safe, try to:

  • choose quieter time to avoid queues
  • reducing the number of trips by doing one big shop
  • put on your face covering before touching a trolley or basket
  • wipe the handles of any baskets or trolleys before use
  • use contactless payment if possible
  • use self-checkout or self-scan if you can – this will mean that it’s only you who is touching your items

Some business in the retail and hospitality sections have introduced 1 metre zones. This is only if they have taken steps to keep their customers safe. There will be clear signage outside the building. You may want to avoid entering if you do not feel comfortable.

Eating out

You can choose to sit in outdoors spaces at cafes, pubs and restaurants. Now shielding has paused, you can go inside these places.

To stay safe, try to:

  • avoid going inside as much as possible
  • choose quieter times or sitting in quiet areas
  • sit facing away from people outwith your group
  • use a hand sanitiser or wash your hands before and after eating
  • use contactless payment if possible

Getting your haircut

You can choose to go to personal retail services for haircuts, shaves, waxes and manicures. To stay safe, try to:

  • choose businesses with enhanced hygiene measures
  • make an appointment – you may also want to tell them that you have been shielding

Visitor attractions

You can choose to go to museums, galleries, libraries, cinemas and other visitor attractions. To stay safe, try to:

  • book tickets in advance and avoid queuing
  • choose times that are more likely to be quiet
  • avoid opening and closing doors with your hands
  • using a hand sanitiser if you touch a hard surface

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