Thank you for contacting me about support for those shielding during Covid-19.
It is crucial that those at most risk in our society are protected in order to safeguard their own health and prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed. I am also greatly saddened to hear of financial difficulties at this time. No one following Government instruction, should be penalised for their efforts.
I am aware that the advice indicates that employees, unable to work because they are shielding in line with public health guidance, can be placed on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, such that their employer could claim a grant that covers 80 per cent of an their usual monthly wage, up to £2,500 a month. If you have been placed on furlough, I urge anyone on furlough to contact their employer to alert them to the fact that they are shielding in line with public health and Government guidance and therefore continue to be eligible for the scheme.
I welcome clear Government guidance that indicates that, from 4 July, clinically vulnerable people can now meet people both outdoors and indoors, while remaining vigilant about hygiene. Those classed as clinically extremely vulnerable, who have been advised to shield, are now able to form support bubbles, and spend time outdoors in a group of up to 6 people; from 1 August, advice for clinically extremely vulnerable people will move in line with advice to those who are clinically vulnerable. While these steps are being taken as long as the incidence rate in the community remains low, they will be most welcome for individuals who have been shielding since March.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.