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Social Contact and Hygiene for Volunteers

Guidance for Volunteers

Public Health England (PHE) has issued guidance that can be of use for volunteers: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-how-to-help-safely–2/coronavirus-how-to-help-safely

This provides information on who can volunteer, and on keeping themselves and others safe. Staff/volunteers. Anyone involved in this activity needs to read this guidance.

Volunteers are reminded of the continued importance of good hand and respiratory hygiene:

  • washing your hands more often – with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitiser when you get home or into work, when you blow your nose, sneeze or cough, eat or handle food
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • avoid close contact with people who have symptoms
  • cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin and wash your hands
  • clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home

Anyone who is doing this voluntary activity needs to have an understanding of the current government advice:

Everyone has been asked to stay at home and away from others (this is called social distancing). Vulnerable groups need to follow the social distancing measures more stringently. The following two points are relevant:

  • ask friends or family to drop off anything you need or order supplies online, but make sure these are left outside your home for you to collect. And
  • Do not invite or allow social visitors, such as other friends and family, to enter your home. If you want to speak to someone who is not a member of your household, use the phone or social media.

Extremely vulnerable groups are currently shielding. Shielding is a practice used to protect extremely vulnerable people from coming into contact with coronavirus. People who are shielding are strongly advised to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact for a period of at least 12 weeks from the day they receive a NHS letter. Please note that this period of time could change. Shielding measures for those who are extremely vulnerable include the measures stated below and has implications for both those whom can volunteer and the voluntary services that can be realistically delivered to shielding clients.

  • Strictly avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough.
  • Do not leave your house.
  • Do not attend any gatherings. This includes gatherings of friends and families in private spaces, for example, family homes, weddings and religious services.
  • Do not go out for shopping, leisure or travel and, when arranging food or medication deliveries, these should be left at the door to minimise contact.
  • Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media.
  • Do use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services.

Advice on delivering foods etc can be found at: https://www.cieh.org/media/4070/covid-19-food-delivery-and-takeaway-guidance.pdf

Volunteers need to be aware of the following factors (not strictly PH): Liability, safeguarding, identifying self-isolating and shielding clients, hand-hygiene opportunities, identification of volunteers.

Cleaning: This guidance would need to be followed in situations when a suspected/confirmed case of COVID-19 has been in a setting, e.g. in a food packing room:

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