As the Covid19 lockdown eases and more businesses open and more people mix and mingle again, it is vital people who are blind or vision impaired can equally reap the benefits as society re-emerges. Like everyone else, the pandemic has been difficult for people who are blind or vision impaired but abiding by social distancing rules does pose a unique and real ongoing challenge.
Through our Change Your View campaign NCBI is asking the public, businesses and Government to be more proactive in considering and removing the barriers faced by those living with sight loss.
What the public can do?
Offer verbal instructions which may be very helpful to the blind or vision-impaired person in certain circumstances.
Never just grab a blind or vision-impaired person in the belief you are being helpful – Always Ask.
Be careful not to block the path of someone who is blind or vision-impaired.
What businesses can do?
Whether you are reopening your shops, cafes, pubs or restaurants, museums etc., we want to be sure customers who are blind or vision impaired can access and fully participate. If you are using any outdoor dining space please ensure paths are not over cluttered and there is still space for people who are blind or vision impaired to navigate past safely.
What Government can do?
NCBI will continue to link in with various Government departments to ensure the needs of people who are blind or vision impaired are considered. This includes ensuring all updates of the HSE Tracker App remain accessible and the provision of information about vaccines in accessible formats. But also NCBI calls on the Government to act on the following:
- Ensure Local Authorities who are providing funding for outdoor dining furniture inform businesses of the needs of others and regulate their usage to ensure pedestrianised areas can be used safely for all members of the public.
- Seize the opportunity to improve the accessibility of cultural and heritage sites so visitors who are blind or vision impaired can fully participate e.g. more Braille, audio and large print descriptions of exhibits, setting nationwide targets for audio description in cinemas, theatres, and sporting events, specialised portable audio-described tours of cultural sites and museums where visual exhibits are present and to support the participation of people living with sight loss in sports.