Perthshire Advertiser

Social distancing rules change to help blind people


A Perth-based sensory impairment charity has welcomed the news that blind and partially sighted people can be guided out in public by someone not in their household.

It follows a Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) Scotland survey showing that one in four said they did not have someone in the same household who could guide them.

VisionPK, based on New Row, has also been working closely with PKC to help ensure the region’s blind or partially sighted people can easily maintain social distancing while out and about.

The allowance was confirmed last week by minister for older people and equalities Christina McKelvie MSP in order to help anyone at risk who needs support.

But the importance of limiting the time spent at less than two metres from each other, and of wearing a face covering and maintainin­g good hand hygiene, was also emphasised by the MSP.

Gill Sutherland, on behalf of Vision PK,“welcomed”the news and said: “We want to support people living with sight loss to feel safe and confident about getting out and about.

“We have been working closely with the council to ensure that any new measures to ensure social distancing and the reduction in the spread of the virus, such as the changes to crossings, do not have a negative impact on blind and partially sighted people.

“We have been circulatin­g informatio­n to all of our clients and have copies of guidance in large print and Braille which people can request.

“We are encouragin­g people to identify themselves as someone who has a sight loss condition by carrying or using a mobility aid, such as a symbol cane, so that those around them will recognise that they may struggle to maintain social distancing.

“We would urge anyone living in Perth and Kinross who is living with sight loss and is looking for advice or guidance to contact VisionPK on 01738 626969.”

To highlight the difficulti­es with social distancing generally, RNIB also launched its‘World Upside Down’ campaign across the UK on July 3, asking people to think about the challenges those with sight loss face.

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