Everybody is likely to feel differently about the lifting of most coronavirus restrictions in England and many restrictions in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Some people might be relieved to see the easing of restrictions. Others might be anxious that measures to help protect people are being relaxed. There is no right or wrong way to feel. It is understandable that you might have mixed feelings, particularly if you are clinically extremely vulnerable.
Whether or not you choose to go out more, and how many people you choose to meet within the current rules, is a personal decision. To help you decide what you feel comfortable doing, we recap some of the main considerations and suggest things you can do to keep yourself safer.
Not seeing people in-person has been challenging for many people. Although you might be pleased you can meet other people, you might also feel anxious about it. Remember that it is up to you whether or not you choose to see more people socially. If you do, the following measures can help lower your risk:
- Think about how many people you meet. In England, there are no longer any restrictions on the number of people you're allowed to meet, but this doesn’t mean you should feel any pressure to meet people if you don’t want to. It is up to you how many people you feel comfortable meeting. It’s safer to meet the same few people regularly than to meet lots of different people at different times.
- Consider meeting outdoors to keep your risk as low as possible. If you choose to meet other people indoors, keep the windows open to let plenty of fresh air inside. You could choose to wear a face mask.
- If you are meeting people you know well, you could ask if they'd consider wearing a face mask to help protect you, or if they'd be willing to take a lateral flow test before meeting up.
- It’s a personal choice whether or not you keep your distance from friends and family. However, consider the risks carefully before making your decision, especially if you live in an area where coronavirus is spreading quickly.
- Do not meet up with anybody who has symptoms of COVID-19 (high temperature and/or a new, continuous cough and/or a loss of or change in sense of taste or smell) or has been told to isolate because they are a close contact of somebody who has COVID-19.
In England, the government is no longer instructing people to work from home if they can. However, it is expected that any return to the workplace will be gradual and cautious.
- If you are able to work from home, you could ask your employer if you can continue to do so.
- If you have to return to your workplace, speak to your employer to make sure there are measures in place to protect you. You might find it helpful to use our list of questions to ask. You could talk to a member of your HR department or union representative, if you have one. You can get more advice from ACAS, the Health and Safety Executive or Citizens Advice.
- If you need support to work safely at home or in the workplace, you might be able to get help from Access to Work.
- If you think your employer is treating you unfairly because of your lymphoma diagnosis, the Equality Advisory and Support Service offers free advice.
It is up to you whether or not you choose to go out more now that most venues have reopened. If you would like to visit more places but you’re anxious about coronavirus, there are things you can do to reduce your risk:
- If you are visiting a public place, it is safer to visit at a quiet time of day if you can.
- If you are eating out at a pub or restaurant, think about where you feel comfortable sitting. The risk is lowest outdoors. If you choose to sit indoors, try to find a quieter, well ventilated space if possible.
- If you are planning a trip out, think about where you feel safe going. You could consider outdoor attractions, or larger, well ventilated venues where it’s easier to keep a safe distance from other people.
- When you’re out in public, try to stay a safe distance away from other people. You might find our 'Distance Aware' badge a helpful way to remind others to give you space if they can, even after restrictions have ended.
- If you need to go to the shops, try to pick a quiet time of day. Remember you can still shop online if you prefer.
- Avoid public transport if you can. If you can't avoid it, try to travel at quieter times of day.
- Even if it is not legally required where you live, consider wearing a face covering on public transport, in shops, restaurants, pubs or other indoor public places where you are likely to come into contact with people you don't know. This remains a legal requirement in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 (high temperature and/or a new, continuous cough and/or a loss of or change in sense of taste or smell):
- Self-isolate straightaway.
- If you are having cancer treatment, call your key worker or chemotherapy helpline.
- Book a test for COVID-19.
You must also self-isolate if anybody in your household or support bubble has symptoms of COVID-19, or if you have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
As well as thinking about your contact with other people, there are other measures you can take to help reduce the spread of coronavirus.
- Wash your hands often using soap and water, or use hand sanitiser if hand-washing facilities aren’t available.
- Cover your nose and mouth when you cough and sneeze. If possible, use a tissue and throw it away straightaway.
- Clean surfaces and frequently touched objects (for example, light switches, taps and door handles) often.
- Consider taking a rapid lateral flow test twice a week to check if you have coronavirus even if you don't have symptoms.
- Consider using the NHS COVID-19 app.
We appreciate that this might be a worrying time. If you’d like to talk, contact our Helpline Services on freephone 0808 808 5555 from 10am to 3pm, Monday to Friday, or via Live Chat through our website. You can also email us at email@example.com.
You might find some of our other resources helpful:
- Returning to the workplace?
- Tips to help manage change as COVID-19 restrictions end
- Support for managing uncertainty
- 'Distance Aware' badge to remind others to social distance when possible
- Videos on physical health and emotional wellbeing for people affected by lymphoma
- Guidance on wellbeing and emotional support during the COVID-19 pandemic
The government has also produced guidance on how to stop the spread of coronavirus and Public Health England has created a visual guide to working and living safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The restrictions are different for people living in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales. You might also like to read the full government guidelines for clinically extremely vulnerable people in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.