People on the shielding list are being urged to follow additional guidance from Boxing Day when most of Scotland will be put into the highest level of lockdown.
Mainland Scotland will enter level four for three weeks from one minute after midnight on December 26 as part of measures to tackle the spread of the new strain of coronavirus.
The only exceptions will be Orkney, Shetland the Western Isles, and the other island communities where restrictions have been reduced in recent weeks, which will be placed in level three.
The Christmas “bubble” policy has been scrapped, with household mixing only allowed on Christmas Day.
Those on the shielding list are being advised to work from home if they can, avoid public transport and minimise contact with people outside their own household if possible.
Scotland’s interim chief medical officer Dr Gregor Smith said: “We know people on the shielding list will feel especially anxious about the new strain of Covid-19.
“That is why we are advising everyone on the shielding list who lives or works in mainland Scotland to follow the additional advice for them at Level 4 from Boxing Day. Clinical advisers recommend this advice for periods when the risk of infection is at its highest and it offers additional protection against the virus.
“We are encouraging those at the highest risk to follow this advice and find a balance between protecting themselves from Covid-19 and maintaining physical and mental health, as well as staying connected to their family and friends and maintaining their quality of life.”
He added: “Everyone on the shielding list should work from home if they can. Those who cannot work from home should speak to their employers to ensure they have put the necessary protections in place to keep everyone safe.
“We also urge all employers to take their responsibility to protect their staff seriously and take decisive action to support all employees, including those at the highest risk.”
He said that if people on the shielding list cannot be in the workplace safely, employers will have to accept the letter they will be receiving from the Chief Medical Officer as a shielding notification which can be used in the same way as a fit note in level four.
Dr Smith said that additional support will be available for people who are most at risk during this period.
Those who have support needs or difficulty accessing food or groceries are urged to contact their local authority, or call the national helpline on 0800 111 4000.
Other advice for people shielding in level four areas is that they should strictly follow the guidelines when shopping, limit the number of times they go to a shop and do so at quieter times.
Children on the shielding list should not attend school, college or formal childcare in person in a level four area.
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