Irvine’s MSP has called for everyone to take visually impaired people into consideration when out shopping.

SNP MSP Ruth Maguire called for extra support to be given to visually impaired people to help follow social distancing guidelines in supermarkets following concerns concerns raised by residents.

This comes after a survey by the Royal National Institute of Blind People found three in four people with visual impairments are concerned about getting access to food, one in five having to ration, with 65 per cent of respondents have had difficulty in securing a delivery slot.

The Cunninghame South MSP said: “It’s clear that measures taken by supermarkets to ensure the safety of staff and customers, while worthwhile, have impacted on the independence of blind and visually impaired people in North Ayrshire and across Scotland. Guide dogs are not trained to recognise socially distanced queues or one way system markings on shop floors. Perspex barriers at checkouts are also proving a challenge for people with visual impairments who are looking to do their food shopping.

“I’d like to call on the Scottish Government to take advice from the RNIB on how best to make adjustments that accommodate the needs of people with visual impairments during this crisis. In the mean time I would also like to call on the public to give due care and attention to people with guide dogs to allow them extra space.”

James Adams, director RNIB Scotland, said: “We are calling for government to give guidance to businesses and the general public on what can be done to help blind and partially sighted people.

“We do appreciate the importance of distancing to contain the spread of the coronavirus. We just need to make sure people with sight loss don’t end up becoming prisoners of lockdown and deprived of essentials.”


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