Most coronavirus restrictions are being lifted in England on 19 July. The government says people considered to be clinically extremely vulnerable should, as a minimum, follow the same guidance as everyone else.

However, if you are at higher risk of becoming ill, it says you may wish to "think particularly carefully" about taking extra precautions when meeting others you do not usually meet, including:

  • limiting moments of close contact
  • considering whether you and others have been fully vaccinated (you might want to wait until 14 days after your second dose before meeting)
  • considering the risk as Covid-19 levels are very high in Wirral
  • meeting outside if possible
  • ensuring inside spaces are well-ventilated
  • washing hands regularly and avoiding face-touching
  • continuing social distancing if that feels right for you
  • asking friends/family to take lateral flow tests before meeting

What about going to work?

From 19 July in England, general advice to work from home where possible will end - as will the need for social distancing measures in the workplace.

However, companies still have legally binding health and safety responsibilities - and your employer should explain the measures in place to keep you safe at work.

Some firms, for example, may ask employees to take regular Covid tests to identify asymptomatic people.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough) is available until 30 September. You may be eligible to benefit, provided your employer agrees.

You may also qualify for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if you are sick or incapable of work, either due to coronavirus or other health reasons. Read the updated government advice.

What about travel and shopping?

Although the legal requirement to wear a face covering is being lifted from 19 July, the government says it "expects and recommends" that people wear them in crowded areas - such as busy shops and public transport.

You should consider travelling outside peak hours, and shopping at quieter times of day, to reduce the number of people you come into contact with. You may be more comfortable booking supermarket deliveries online.

The NHS Volunteer Responders programme is still available to offer support.

Get both vaccine doses for maximum protection

Data shows Covid vaccines are highly effective and two doses are needed for maximum protection.

Being double-jabbed reduces the risk of symptomatic Covid-19 by around 90%, say experts. But no vaccine is 100% effective. Some people with weak immune systems may not get as much benefit from the vaccine, for example.

You should already have been offered a vaccine but, if not visit: COVID-19 vaccination walk-in clinics - Wirral CCG for the latest information on how to get your vaccine.

The pandemic may have triggered feelings of worry, distress or loneliness - a normal response to an unprecedented period of disruption. The government recommends several support websites.

Take extra care to:

  • wash your hands with soap and water often
  • use hand sanitiser if soap and water is not available
  • wear a face covering over your mouth and nose outdoors and indoors when social distancing is not possible

What to do if you develop symptoms?

If you develop symptoms such as a cough, or fever, or you lose your sense of taste or smell, get a test and stay at home until you get the result.

You can book a test by going to www.wirral.gov.uk/test  or call 119 if you do not have internet access. If you test positive, please stay at home for 10 days from when your symptoms have started.  If you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace, follow their instructions.

Wirral Council operates a Coronavirus Helpline. Those needing support can call 0151 666 5050. The helpline operates Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.