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.

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Coronavirus (COVID-19): shielding advice and support
Staying safe

Staying safe

The number of people in Scotland with coronavirus is much lower. However, people who have been asked to shield still have the same risk if they become infected with the virus. You may want to consider this carefully when making decisions about things that are important to you.

Our ‘Quick Guide to Risk’ lists examples of everyday activities that are ‘low risk’ and ‘higher risk’. We ask you to keep these risks in mind when choosing what to do and where to go. You may also want to consider our tips on how to stay safe during daily activities.

Before leaving your home, plan how you will keep safe and minimise risk by considering:

  • taking an alcohol-based hand rub (hand sanitiser) with you
  • taking tissues and a separate bag to keep used tissues
  • taking a face covering
  • choosing times and areas that are quiet

There are ways to lower your risk of exposure to the virus as you start doing more activities outside your home. When outdoors, as much as possible, try to:

  • stay at 2 least metres away from other people – except from those you live with or are in your extended household group
  • wear a face covering inside shops and on public transport, unless you are exempt
  • avoid touching hard surfaces with your hands – such as door handles, gates, seats and tables
  • use a hand sanitiser regularly, especially before eating or after touching hard surfaces
  • wash your hands for at least 20 seconds as soon as you get home

Face coverings

The best way to lower your risk is to maintain physical distancing as much as possible. It is also best to avoid busy or crowded places.

Face coverings reduce the risk of the wearer passing on the infection. This is why it is now mandatory to wear face coverings inside shops and on public transport. We recommend that you wear a face covering when physical distancing is difficult.

By face coverings, we do not mean the wearing of a surgical or other medical grade mask. It is anything covering your mouth and nose. For example, a scarf through which you can breathe.

Some people are not required to wear a face covering. There are also reasons why some people cannot wear a face covering. This could be because a face covering would cause you difficult, pain or severe distress. This might be due to a health condition or disability. You do not need proof of this.


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