How does Norfolk feel about easing restrictions for shielders?
- Credit: Archant
Joy over being able to spend time with friends and grandchildren, but concerns about logic, are among the reactions from Norfolk ‘shielders’ as new plans are announced to ease measures next month.
Health secretary Matt Hancock announced on Monday the plans will come in two phases starting from Monday, July 6 which will allow people to spend more time outdoors with up to six people from outside their household.
Those that have been shielding and living alone or a single parent will be able to follow the same measures in place to form a support bubble with one other household of any size.
For those classed as “extremely vulnerable” the government will look to lift shielding measures from August 1, and allow those who cannot work from home to return to work if their workplace is covid secure.
Under the plans those shielding will be able to access priority supermarket delivery slots and help with shopping, medication and transport to medical appointments.
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Mr Hancock said: “Shielding has involved not leaving your house for months, not seeing people you care about, not being able to wander to the park for some fresh air, or even pop to the shops for something you need. This sacrifice has been for a purpose, and I want to thank every single one of you.
“We knew it was a difficult ask, but these measures have been vital in saving lives. Now, with infection rates continuing to fall in our communities, our medical experts have advised that we can now ease some of these measures, while keeping people safe.”
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As part of the plan, from August 1 those who need to work and cannot do so from home will be able to return to work as long as their workplace has secure covid measures.
Norwich woman Wendy Howe, who has severe asthma, hopes she will be able to grow her bubble and see more friends as of July 6.
Mrs Howe said; “It will be so wonderful. I have worried about my mental health. I’m very excited to see somebody else. I will feel a bit more normal, a bit more like everybody else, I have felt apart from the rest of society and there are lots like me. I am used to never being in.
“There was never anything for people who were shielding. It never felt as if it was going to be our turn.”
Her friend Sue Lawrence, who lives in Thorpe St Andrew, said seeing her two grandsons will be the biggest thing, adding: “I would love to go to the beach, I haven’t been at all and I miss going to places with my grandchildren.”
Norwich Author Laura James, who lives in the Golden Triangle, who was shielding for health reasons said it felt as if the government were “giving up” and could not understand the logic behind the decision.
She said: “There is no logic to what they are doing.
“Of course, every single one of us wants a normal life. For those shielding it has been a real sacrifice, many have been locked away, many people have lost jobs or been away from loved ones.
“We have made more sacrifices than anybody else. We are in a situation right now I do understand the science behind it. How do they know that’s going to be the case on August 1?”
Helen Manning, from Dereham, who has diabetes said she would not be going out more once the measures were eased.
She said: “I feel scared. I shan’t be doing any of that I shall continue staying at home. They do not know enough they do all these u-turns. I think we have to use a little bit of common sense.
“To me life is precious. What I do not want is to be relaxed about it, catch it and not be here. I know about loss and that’s my main concern.
“Luckily Norfolk is not so bad but as the weather continues more people will be coming up from London and other areas. There’s not enough information about why diabetes is so affected. I will wait for more information. You have just got to do what is best for you.”
Update guidance will be published on both July 6 and August 1 and people classed with the extremely vulnerable group.