Coronavirus (COVID-19): Shielding

Local protection levels (tiers)

Each area of Scotland has a local protection level. These are known as tiers. What you can and cannot do depends on your tier.

Read the Scottish Government’s Coronavirus (COVID-19): local protection levels to find out:

  • which tier you're in
  • what you can and cannot do in your tier

People who were previously shielding should strictly follow physical distancing and hygiene measures.

If you were previously told to shield

Before the virus, clinicians advised some people to avoid doing certain things. This is because of their specific health condition or specific treatments. You should continue to follow any specific advice that your clinician provides. Examples include people who:

  • are waiting for a solid organ transplant
  • are having treatment for cancer or have recently completed treatment

Those awaiting a solid organ transplant should contact their transplant team to discuss whether specific recommendations should be in place for them, in addition to this updated advice.

People living in a residential care or nursing home

The advice for the general population does not apply to anyone living in a residential care or nursing home. Your care home should be following The Scottish Government’s Care Home Visiting pathway.

Making choices about what it is safe to do

The Scottish Government has information to enable you to make informed choices about balancing risk with your health and daily activities including guidance about the conditions for the main shielding categories.

Going to work

As for the general population, remote working should remain the default position for those who can do so.

Read the Scottish Government’s guidance for going to work in your tier for people who were previously shielding

Going to school

Read the Scottish Government’s guidance for going to school in your tier for children who were previously shielding 

Text message (SMS) service

The Scottish Government continue to send updates through the SMS Shielding Service. Read the Scottish Government’s shielding advice and support to find out how to sign up to this service.

Helpline for vulnerable people

A helpline (0800 111 4000) has been set up for those at increased risk who don’t have a support network, such as family or existing community support. This helpline will continue to be available even though shielding is now paused.

Callers will be connected to their local authority who will help them access the services they need, such as:

  • essential food and medication
  • links to local social work services for vulnerable children or adults
  • emotional support
  • contact with local volunteer groups

The helpline is open from 9.00am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday.

Free supply of vitamin D

Everyone on the shielding list is being offered a free supply of vitamin D for 4 months over winter.

The SG Shielding Text Messaging Service will be sending a reminder text to everyone on the shielding list who is registered for this service on Monday 9 November.

You should opt-in to this offer by Wednesday 11 November by either:

  • replying to the reminder text with ‘VITD’
  • contacting the national helpline on: 0800 111 4000

Your vitamins will be posted to your home address.

Taking a daily vitamin D supplement helps with bone and muscle health. Read more about vitamin D on the Scottish Government’s shielding page.

Health and social care support

If you receive support from health and social care organisations, such as care support through your local authority, this will continue as normal.

Your health or social care provider will be asked to take additional precautions to make sure that you’re protected.

Looking after your wellbeing

Social isolation, reduction in physical activity, unpredictability and changes in routine can all contribute to increasing stress. Many people including those without existing mental health needs may feel anxious.

If you’re receiving services for your mental health, learning disability or autism and you’re worried about the impact of isolation, contact your keyworker, care coordinator or provider to review your care plan.

If you have additional needs please contact your key worker or care coordinator to develop a safety or crisis plan.

It’s important to stay mentally and physically active during this time.

Read further advice on your mental wellbeing

Further information