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Everything you need to know about the big changes to shielding rules

Here’s what you need to know…

Alex Watson

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From July 6th, those with underlying health issues will no longer have to shield or avoid contact with others. 

Those people who were deemed clinically extremely vulnerable to Covid-19 have been self-isolating throughout the pandemic, with a total of up to 2.2 million people in England having to do this.

Since the end of March, these people have been in their homes for 12 weeks, avoiding face-to-face contact with others and keeping their distance from those we live with. 

On June 1st, the measures were slightly relaxed allowing one trip outside of the home a day and a socially distant meeting with one other person from another household. 

From July 6th, the guidance for those shielding will be relaxed even further. 

Sharon McCutcheon/Unsplash

The new rules, coming into place July 6th, will mean those shielding will be able to meet up outside in groups of six people from different households, as long as they can keep two metres apart. 

They will also no longer have to keep the two-metre distance with the rest of their household. 

If a shielding person has been living alone they will be allowed to form a ‘support bubble’ with another household. Experts have stressed the importance of physical distancing and strict hand hygiene to reduce the risk of infection.

From August 1st, Matt Hancock has explained that the shielding scheme will be ‘paused’ and will be resumed if needed.

Claudio Schwarz/Unsplash

This could mean that those who have been shielding will be able to see other people, go to the shops and from the start of August potentially go back to work if they are ‘COVID-secure’.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Jenny Harries has said that young children who have been shielding, for instance due to asthma, are at a greater risk of being left behind in their education than of getting COVID.

She said: “In terms of the long-term health outcomes, that would be far worse,” 

From August 1st, it also means statutory sick pay and free food boxes will be stopped for shielding individuals.

Supermarket delivery slots will still be given as a priority to those shielding, according to the Department of Health and Social Care.

Andre Ouellet/Unsplash

Regarding a second wave, Dr Harries said that the government will ‘continue to monitor the evidence closely and adjust the advice accordingly’.

New research by the University of Oxford has also provided a new model which improves the identification of those who need to shield.

This means that if shielding needs to resume, those who have been shielding over the past three months might not have to do so again with the new more precise targeting being applied.

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Holidaymakers in Ibiza and Majorca will have to wear a face mask at all times in public

Just in…

Alex Watson

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Holidaymakers who are jetting to Majorca and Ibiza will have to wear face masks, it has been confirmed today. 

The Balearic Islands have confirmed that they are tightening the rules of mask-wearing. The news comes just hours after Catalonia revealed it will be making face masks obligatory at all times in public. 

It has yet to be confirmed if wearing a face mask will be mandatory on the beach.

Only yesterday did Catalonia extend the exceptions of their rules on making people wear face masks on the beaches.

Oscar Nord/Unsplash

If you fail to follow the rules, meaning wearing a mask that covers your nose and mouth, you will be hit with a hefty €100 fine.

Until now in Spain, face masks have only been obligatory in public places such as shops, and public spaces where social distancing of 5 feet cannot be maintained.

The change means tourists will be expected to wear masks also at any point outside, although practising sport or children under six are exempt. 

For those living under the same roof, wearing a face mask while travelling in the same car is not compulsory. 

Unsplash

Police are expected to provide advice to foreign holidaymakers who may be unfamiliar with the new rules before they start issuing fines. 

News regarding the rules in Costa del Sol are yet to be announced. 

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Free TV licences for pensioners will officially be axed from August

It’s expected it will effect 3.7 million pensioners.

Alex Watson

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It has been confirmed that millions of pensioners will be stripped of free TV licenses from August 1st. 

The BBC has announced there will be no extension to the two-month stay-of-execution that was triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. 

It is estimated that 3.7 million over-75s will now have to pay £157.50 a year to watch their favourite TV shows. 

In the 2017 Conservative election, they pledged to protect free licenses for the rest of Parliament, which was set to run until 2022. 

However, the BBC had been responsible for the lifeline from June 2020 following a deal agreed in 2015. 

The BBC says keeping licenses free for all over 75s would cost £745 million. Instead, the corporation is introducing restrictions that mean only over-75s who receive Pension Credit will be eligible. 

BBC chairman Sir David Clementi said: “The decision to commence the new scheme in August has not been easy, but implementation of the new scheme will be Covid-19 safe.

“The BBC could not continue delaying the scheme without impacting on programmes and services.

“Around 1.5 million households could get free TV licences if someone is over 75 and receives Pension Credit, and 450,000 of them have already applied.

“And critically it is not the BBC making that judgment about poverty. It is the Government who sets and controls that measure.

“Like most organisations the BBC is under severe financial pressure due to the pandemic, yet we have continued to put the public first in all our decisions.

“I believe continuing to fund some free TV licences is the fairest decision for the public, as we will be supporting the poorest oldest pensioners without impacting the programmes and services that all audiences love.”

Shadow Culture Minister, Chris Matheson, issued a last plea for the government to take responsibility in the Commons today. 

He said: “The BBC is cutting jobs and content to pay for the cost of the licence dumped on them by the Government – and pensioners are forced to choose between eating and watching TV.”

Culture Minister Matt Warman said: “The fact is that the BBC has had a generous licence fee settlement and it is deeply disappointing that they have chosen to go down the path that they apparently are going down.

“I would, of course, hope that there is yet time to reconsider that because he is right to say that television has been vital comfort for many people in the last few months.

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Boots to cut more than 4,000 jobs due to ‘significant impact’ of coronavirus

JUST IN.

Proper Manchester

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Lewis Clarke / Geograph

Boots has said that more than 4,000 jobs are to be cut, about 7% of its workforce.

According to Boots, the company is consulting on plans to restructure its head office and store teams, as well as closing 48 Boots Opticians stores.

A Boots spokesman has said the move was part of action to mitigate the ‘significant impact’ of coronavirus, and will particularly affect staff who work in the Nottingham support office.

Some deputy and assistant manager, beauty adviser and customer adviser roles will also be affected across its stores.

As well as the job cuts, 48 Boots Opticians stores will also close, the Mirror reports.

Sebastian James, managing director of Boots UK, said: “The proposals announced today are decisive actions to accelerate our transformation plan, allow Boots to continue its vital role as part of the UK health system, and ensure profitable long-term growth.

“I am so very grateful to all our colleagues for their dedication during the last few challenging months.

“They have stepped forward to support their communities, our customers and the NHS during this time, and I am extremely proud to be serving alongside them.

“In doing this, we are building a stronger and more modern Boots for our customers, patients and colleagues.

“We recognise that today’s proposals will be very difficult for the remarkable people who make up the heart of our business, and we will do everything in our power to provide the fullest support during this time.”

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