Following the announcement that three local Covid alert levels will be introduced from Wednesday 14 October, the Government has published new guidance for those identified as clinically extremely vulnerable who were advised to shield during the Spring lockdown.

The guidance notes that due to the measures to reduce transmission now in place, the need for strict shielding has reduced. It also recognises the potentially harmful impacts on mental and social wellbeing of strict shielding.

Everyone is currently advised to work from home where possible but, if this is not possible, the guidance makes clear that clinically extremely vulnerable employees can still go to work.  Where an area is at the “very high” Covid alert level, these individuals are strongly advised to work from home.  If this is not possible, the option of an alternative role or changed working patterns should be considered but, if there is no alternative, such individuals can still go to work as the employer should have taken steps to make the workplace COVID-19 secure.

Formal shielding advice will only be reintroduced in the very worst affected local areas, in some only of the very high alert level areas and based on advice from the Chief Medical Officer.  This will be for a limited period of time.  The Government will send shielding notifications to those affected and these individuals should not attend work (if they cannot work from home) and may be eligible for statutory sick pay.