- Luke Pollard and Marsha de Cordova, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities, have written to DEFRA Secretary George Eustice
- They are calling for more to be done on the issue of blind and partially sighted people accessing supermarkets.
Luke Pollard and Marsha de Cordova, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities, have written to DEFRA Secretary George Eustice, on the issue of blind and partially sighted people being able to access supermarkets during the lockdown.
Blind and partially sighted people face a number of issues when it comes to using shops while social distancing is being enforced. Guide dogs are not trained to follow social distancing guidelines, many blind and partially sighted people find it difficult to identify a 2m distance and keep their distance, and many people with visual impairments need to touch items and their surroundings more which leads to an increased risk of catching or transmitting COVID-19. They also find it more difficult to identify 2m markings and the clear Perspex shielding around tills.
Blind people were not included in the groups of individuals to be shielded from Coronavirus. Therefore, they do not have access to priority food delivery slots for online shopping. Many have had to rely on friends or family, but for many more this is not an option.
Luke and Marsha have called for to issue specific guidance to supermarkets to introduce standard support arrangements for blind and partially sighted people too. They have also called for the government to prioritise blind people in a new category of ‘vulnerable prioritised non-shielded’ individuals, who face additional barriers accessing food and who should be eligible for prioritised supermarket food delivery slots.