Posted: Wed 3rd Feb 2021

North Wales MS calls for COVID supermarket rules to consider blind and partially sighted people

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Feb 3rd, 2021

A call has been made for the latest supermarket COVID rules to take into consideration the needs of blind and partially sighted people.

The rules were announced on 15 January by First Minister Mark Drakeford during a Welsh Government COVID briefing with supermarkets still in discussion over their implementation.

They include visible signs reminding people to keep socially distanced, hand sanitiser available for hands and trolleys, and systems limiting the amount of people in a store at any one time.

North Wales MS Mark Isherwood has however called for these rules to cater for blind and partially sighted people due to concerns surrounding how the changes will affect them.

Speaking during yesterday’s Business Statement in the Welsh Parliament, Mark Isherwood said: “Proposed measures include systems to manage the number of customers in-store, more visible signage and hygiene stations and increased social distancing markers.

“RNIB Cymru have been approached by a number of their members, worried about what these new restrictions might mean for them.

“Social distancing is near-impossible for blind and partially sighted people, and navigating queues and altered store layouts has been extremely challenging for them throughout the whole pandemic.

“RNIB Cymru are therefore calling for guidance to be issued to supermarkets and essential retailers to make staff aware of the types of assistance and adjustments they can offer to blind and partially sighted customers.

“Blind and partially sighted people need to know both: how the Welsh Government intends to address the issue of access to supermarkets for them, and what guidance will it be issuing to retailers to raise staff awareness and make sure vulnerable people are not disadvantaged even further. I call for a statement accordingly.”

Rebecca Evans MS added that she will ensure the Health Minister reviews the new measures “with a view to exploring what more we can say to ensure that people aren’t disadvantaged and that awareness is heightened as much as possible.”

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