As lockdown restrictions ease and social distancing continues, this can present a real challenge for many blind and partially sighted people, particularly when leaving the house for food, exercise and medical appointments. Vision West of England's Rehabilitation Officers have shared some of their top tips for social distancing below;
Ten Top Tips – Social Distancing
1. It can be helpful to let others know that you have a visual impairment, especially at this time.
2. If you have a white cane of any type, consider using it fully extended at all times. This can help others to notice and maintain their distance from you.
3. If you need something as an indication to others, symbol canes are short white canes that can be used for this purpose and can be purchased from RNIB via their website or 0303 123 9999.
4. Other alternatives for indication are: badges, armbands and other items from the Partially Sighted Society via their website or 01302 965195. The Sunflower lanyard is also a recognised sign for someone who may require assistance.
5. When being guided, still carry your cane as it acts as a symbol, this will also make it easier for your guide when negotiating others.
6. If using a long cane then you can also, make your cane arc wider or use two or three point touch to increase the sounds you make.
7. Keep to the inner shoreline where possible and this will encourage others to pass around you on the roadside or cross over if they feel it is necessary.
8. If you feel unsure or uncomfortable about what is going on around you, stop. If necessary, ask for information or wait until you feel confident to proceed.
9. If using public and community transport check with your local providers as to any changes that have been made to their services. For some services assistance can be booked. If using the busses, ask the driver for any assistance you may require.
10. If possible, carry hand sanitiser with you to use when out. On returning home clean the handle and the tip of your cane.