Author Topic: The Official End of Shielding  (Read 328 times)

ditchdwellers

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The Official End of Shielding
« on: 01 Apr 2021 01:15PM »
So today marks the end of a long period of shielding for many people. 
I'm feeling slightly strange about it. I haven't been in a shop since lockdown began and I feel at a bit of a loss and a bit uneasy about venturing into the bigger shops. What if I get the social distancing etiquette wrong? I'm probably just being silly, but I've only been to the doctors, dentists,  and hospital which I found easy to deal with. 

I'm looking forward to seeing my grandchildren over the Easter holidays as it's been such a long time since I last saw them and I'm very comfortable with that, it's just everything else. 

How is everyone feeling about emerging from their periods of shielding?

lankou

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Re: The Official End of Shielding
« Reply #1 on: 01 Apr 2021 01:57PM »
The letter I had about it still states that I should avoid people and don't go shopping.
That is despite me have had my first jab and will be having my second one next week.
The media/press are giving people wrong information.
(During a telephone appointment with my GP this morning, my GP repeated the advice in the letter.)

oldtone27

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Re: The Official End of Shielding
« Reply #2 on: 01 Apr 2021 03:14PM »
If you are uncertain about relaxing shielding I suggest you speak to your medical advisor.

That said I was originally advised to shield but following a discussion with my consultant this was an error, but I have been semi-shielding since. That means avoiding shops except a weekly visit to my local superstore.

Originally that store had a rigid social distancing system including one way markings and marshalled checkout queues. However, this has been more relaxed for some time with no one way system and normal checkout queues observing social distancing.

On the first occasion of lockdown there were queues outside the store but I soon found a time where there were none.

Since then they have installed a traffic light system. They have always monitored the numbers in the store so it may be busy but never crowded. Checkout staff now have Plexiglas screens separating them from customers. The checkouts are long enough to allow 2m distancing while one person has their goods checked and another loads the conveyor. Occasionally there may be a short queue but people do then tend to keep their distance.

As far etiquette goes nearly every one wears a mask. I never seen anyone challenged by staff or customers. Most people try to keep a distance although 2m is almost impossible if passing in the aisles it is only transitory. Occasionally someone will reach across you to pick something from a shelf but generally people wait until there is space,. I feel safe and I think the risk of transmission is low.

Obviously much depends on the layout of your store and level of supervision. Hope that is helpful.

lankou

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Re: The Official End of Shielding
« Reply #3 on: 01 Apr 2021 03:43PM »
If you are uncertain about relaxing shielding I suggest you speak to your medical advisor.

I did this morning (as I posted earlier.)

Sunny Clouds

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Re: The Official End of Shielding
« Reply #4 on: 01 Apr 2021 05:35PM »
What bugs me, as a non-shielder, about this shielding stuff is that I think that there could have been more freedom for the most clinically vulnerable if we could have trusted other people to be more careful. 

Yesterday, I visited a friend in her garden.  We were able to socially distance.  I don't know whether technically she should be shielding, but she's well into her seventies and has rheumatoid arthritis bad enough to have had a very nasty flare-up when she had her vaccine, so understandably she's been playing safe from the start of the pandemic.  I desperately wanted to be able to hug her for what she's going through.  All I could offer was a 'socially distanced hug' where you hug yourself.

I've read so many foul comments of the 'they'd have died anyway' and 'let the rest of us get on with our lives' sort.  It feels like so many people think old age and disability (at any age) are offences that should carry a sentence of life in solitary confinement.

So for all of you who've been shielding either because you were told to, or because it was what you needed to do to stay safe from selfish wotsits who don't take care, big, big hugs.

Meanwhile, every time I come across what seem like cruelly selfish comments from horrid people out there, I remind myself of all the lovely people out there that aren't being nasty.  The ones that are helping not sneering.  I hope each of you has some contact, albeit at a safe distance, maybe online or through the window, with some non-disabled people like that.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Fiz

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Re: The Official End of Shielding
« Reply #5 on: 02 Apr 2021 12:00PM »
Lankou, I have been shielding and have a stack of shielding letters. The letter that tells us shielding is ending says that we no longer have to shield. It says we should minimise where we go but if we can't work from home tells us we can now go to work. However it tells us that everything in the letter is advice and not instructions which we can choose to do or not because shielding has ended. That said, because shielding has ended and you cannot work from home you would have to choose between your job and resignation.

Personally I am not intending to go in shops despite being allowed now until 3 weeks after my second vaccination especially as research has now shown antibodies lowering towards the end of the 12 week gap between vaccinations and reassurances that the second vaccination boosts the Immunity right back up there again. 

So I am not anticipating much changing for me until mid May. Though weather permitting I will meet up with a friend outdoors now that we can if the arrangements coincide with a good day for me and I don't have to cancel. I do sometimes wonder how I will handle being in amongst people and I don't think it's mostly about Covid, I think after a year of strictly shielding I have developed some social anxiety due to lack of exposure. I very much hope that this goes once I feel safe enough to go out amongst people.

lankou

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Re: The Official End of Shielding
« Reply #6 on: 02 Apr 2021 12:32PM »
Lankou, I have been shielding and have a stack of shielding letters. The letter that tells us shielding is ending says that we no longer have to shield. It says we should minimise where we go but if we can't work from home tells us we can now go to work. However it tells us that everything in the letter is advice and not instructions which we can choose to do or not because shielding has ended. 
Well my GP has told me to stay shielding as in avoiding people and not to go anywhere near shops.
As I have just started a treatment that was suggested by my GP and after my wife and I were counselled by a specialist nurse, I intend to do just that.  (I have the necessary kit to carry out all the measurements needed apart from blood tests, and my wife, a retired nurse to hand in case there are any adverse effects.)
That is all the detail I am prepared to go into, as it is a new treatment.

Fiz

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Re: The Official End of Shielding
« Reply #7 on: 02 Apr 2021 12:55PM »
Absolutely. All I was saying that is the previous government instruction was to shield and now it's just advice we can choose to take. Even the GP has advised you, it's not a legal obligation. However a GPs medical advice is knowledgeable and personal to you so I would encourage everyone to take their GP's medical advice. I have had more than one detailed conversations with my GP by phone about how to stay Covid safe over the last year. She knows the health conditions and treatment I have and I respect her advice over any money focused government. I have no intention of going shopping any time soon.

ditchdwellers

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Re: The Official End of Shielding
« Reply #8 on: 03 Apr 2021 11:14AM »
Thank you everyone for taking the time to contribute to the discussion. I have come to the decision, that having reread my last shielding letter, I will avoid shops until I've had my second jab, but I am going to start seeing close family and friends again. Only outside though, and following the rules. 

I'm seeing one lot of grandchildren this afternoon, followed by my sister, mum and niece. My sister and niece share a house with my mum. I'm then visiting my other grandchildren tomorrow, who I haven't been able to see since the Christmas before last. They only live half an hour away from us, but their mum can be a bit tricky to communicate with at times. So I'm so excited to see everybody  :f_smiley:
The weather is a chilly today so it will be blankets, gloves, and hot water bottles at the ready! I intend to be fully prepared for all eventualities. It must be the Girl Guide in me  :f_laugh:

So I'm going to be out and about but under strict circumstances. Thanks to you all for your advice. 

Iankou - I hope your new treatment goes well xxx

lankou

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Re: The Official End of Shielding
« Reply #9 on: 03 Apr 2021 12:58PM »


Iankou - I hope your new treatment goes well xxx
That is a matter of time and self discipline by me. First blood test next week.

Sunshine Meadows

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Re: The Official End of Shielding
« Reply #10 on: 04 Apr 2021 04:41PM »
:big_hugs:

I have been worried about the etiquette of what to do in shops too and then there are also the ongoing social anxiety going on too. However I did go to a plant nursery the other day and they did not have the plants I wanted so I ended up at a garden centre. It was interesting because I usually buy a lot in one go but this time I spent £20 so I guess part of me expects to be returning to the shops. The again Mr Sunshine did not get a basket or trolley for me to dump stuff in and when I asked him to pick up a parsol I wanted to buy he said What for? so maybe his Bipolar grumpies saved me money.

ditchdwellers

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Re: The Official End of Shielding
« Reply #11 on: 04 Apr 2021 07:00PM »
I sympathise Sunshine. I have plans to visit a plant nursery as I have bought some big planters that I want to fill. I was given some garden vouchers to spend and I haven't had a chance to spend them yet, so I may need to go to a bigger garden centre. Like you, I think I'm going to have to prepare myself and just try it. If it's too busy or too much for me I'll just turn round and come home. 

I've had a busy couple of days being a granny again which is just amazing. Nothing beats seeing them in person, even though I couldn't give them a hug. One set of grandchildren I haven't seen in person since the Christmas before last (not my choice) and although I write to them regularly, and we try and get their mum to return our calls, it's always on her whim. Still, we keep trying and always will. I'm now suitably knackered and sitting with my feet up and a hot water bottle. I plan to do absolutely nothing tomorrow   :f_laugh: .

Sunny Clouds

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Re: The Official End of Shielding
« Reply #12 on: 04 Apr 2021 07:53PM »
When it comes to the safety of shopping, I think a lot depends on the shop.  I live in an urban area and can trundle ok for 30-40 min to shops (without lots of falls these days, wahay!) which means that I'm within walking distance of approximately 6 large-ish known-brand supermarkets, plus three smaller known-brand supermarkets, plus quite a few other shops that sell groceries. That's leaving aside non-grocery shops.

As between the branded shops, the differences are mind-boggling.  E.g.  one where the security guards and staff are active and most customers very considerate.  One where there are always at least two security guards on duty and they actively intervene if customers harass others or persistently getting too close, but most staff don't wear a mask, which I think is a factor in only a third or so of customers wearing one.  One where most staff and customers are considerate but when you get the odd aggressively inconsiderate customer, there's no security guard and the staff do nothing.

I've been freaking out sometimes during the pandemic.  I'm terrified of getting long covid, having previously had postviral fatigue twice.  Thus I empathise with those that need to shield.  There are two sorts of people that particularly freak me - those that object to the rules and in their rebellion get too close, i.e. even closer than usual, but not, I believe, intentionally so; and those that would in non-pandemic times enjoy bullying others by showing impatience to flustered people and/or touching inappropriately or implying they're going to, and who have now transferred that urge to bully into getting inappropriately close without a mask.

For me, the key thing has been to look around the shops and ask others, in order to find the best shops and the best times and days.  But not everyone has that luxury.

Nevertheless, if any of you think in theory you could go shopping, but anxious, there are still a few shops with special times, and/or if you've got the choice, different shops vary enormously.  My nearest Asda also offers escorted shopping for anxious customers.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

ditchdwellers

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Re: The Official End of Shielding
« Reply #13 on: 05 Apr 2021 04:46PM »
Thanks so much for taking the time to give such a a lovely reply  :big_hugs:

Fortunately, my husband is able to do the grocery shopping and picks his times carefully. We also have a few things delivered by the milkman such as bread, and a few treats. He even delivers my bags of compost! 

Anyway, I'm feeling a bit more confident having visited family and I'm quite looking forward to venturing out to the plant nursery.

Sunshine Meadows

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Re: The Official End of Shielding
« Reply #14 on: 05 Apr 2021 05:06PM »
Quote
 If it's too busy or too much for me I'll just turn round and come home. 
DD,


I love that you said that, it reminds me that it is okay to not be okay these days. I was brought up to feel weak if I did not succeed in things and my successes we claimed by the people who helped me. Man I am in a funny mood right no I am okay though.

It is good to hear that you are able to see your grandchildren and extended family. My nephew and niece are all grown up now and too big for cuddles, but I do know how it was to be around them, crawling on the floor and having them showing me how their toys work and chattering the way little kids do.

Sunny,

I like your positive take on things there I had not thought about different supermarkets and shops being different, the people having different attitudes and level of helpfulness.

I have been gardening a bit today and had to remind myself to wash my hair and think a bit more about what I am wearing. Dirty blue cords and an old tshirt are not a good look in the posh area of the garden centre. Not that I am going there today. Falling over less is a confidence boost for me too, I have got my legs back a bit recently, it wont last so I am making hay while the sun shines   :f_angel: