Coming out of lockdown - What to expect
Returning to everyday life after the lockdown can be daunting for many of us, so we have put together this guidance to provide some insight into what to expect when you decide you are ready to get back out and about. We hope these tips will reassure you and give you the confidence you need to go back to what you enjoy doing safely. If you have any questions, we are happy to help too – call us on 0117 322 4885.
Face coverings are now mandatory when travelling on public transport, if you do not have one without being exempt, you could be refused travel. Note that a covering does not have to be a mask – it can be a scarf or another item of clothing which covers the mouth and nose.
In general, buses are much less busy than they usually are, as so many people are currently avoiding public transport. This does make it a lot easier to travel.
Buses and trains have limited the number of seats available to allow social distancing. On many buses, including First Bus in Bristol, bright yellow signs have been put on seats that you are not allowed to use. If you are unsure where you can sit, ask the driver to locate an available seat for you.
Call ahead to your local bus provider to check what systems they have in place.
- The assisted travel programme is still operational under Covid-Secure conditions when travelling on trains. You must pre-book this service by calling 0800 197 1329.
- If you do not feel comfortable being physically guided by someone, ask them to give you clear verbal directions to assist you get to your train. Constant communication will help you follow them although platform noise can make this difficult. The fact that less people are travelling at the moment does make this easier. Travelling at off-peak times can also help.
- Trains also have limited seat availability due to the social distance measures.
- Taxi drivers have been advised to only have passengers in the back seats of their vehicles.
- Good ventilation is also advised - ensure the window is open, ask your driver to open them if you are unable to locate the button.
- You will also need to wear your face covering in a taxi.
- From Friday 24th of July face coverings have been made mandatory in shops at all times for customers. Staff do not have to wear a covering.
- Shop staff are not required to enforce coverings, but you can be fined up to £100 if you do not use one.
- One-way systems have been implemented in many shops, this is to avoid too many people in one place and less face-on contact with others.
- Markings have been taped to the floor which in most cases will not be tactile. If you have difficulty, ask a member of staff to explain which way you should go.
- Many shops require you to sanitise your hands as you go in, and have a sanitiser station at their entrance. If you find it difficult to locate, it could be worth carrying your own sanitiser with you and stopping to use it before you enter the shop.
- Most tills have had clear plastic screens installed. Be aware that these can be difficult to identify. If you are unsure where to pass your goods, ask the cashier to assist.
- Contactless card payments are being encouraged to pay for goods and services. The limit you can pay by this method has been raised to £45. Cash is however still accepted in the vast majority of shops.
- Tape marking has been put in place everywhere, marking regular 2 metre intervals for queues and other spaces. In most cases the markings have not been made tactile. Some places will have brighter tape that will stand out better than others. If you are unsure, then identifying your sight loss to others will help make them aware and they can then keep a distance from you.
- Make others aware that you have difficulty in observing social distancing by wearing one of our lanyards, using a white cane or using other means of identifying yourself as visually impaired. We understand that this can make some people feel vulnerable but it is important to help others understand the difficulties you face.
- People are generally all following the advice and keeping their distance but unless it is obvious that you have sight loss and can't tell how close you are to them, they will not know.
Please call us on 0117 3224885 or email [email protected] if you would like a social distancing lanyard.
- We are aware that some people have been concerned about being guided by those they are not in a bubble with. However, if you are being guided correctly and are both wearing face coverings, the risk of any transmission is very low. If you are unsure of the correct guiding procedures, please call us and we can talk you through it.
Pubs, Cafes, Restaurants
- Face coverings are not mandatory in pubs, cafes or restaurants. They are however mandatory when buying takeaways in person.
- Most places are working on a booking system, you will need to pre-book your table for both food and drinks. This may not be the case everywhere so it is best to call in advance to check.
- In many places a member of staff will sign you in as you arrive, or will take your contact details when you are seated. This is to follow the track and trace system.
- On arrival you will be expected to sanitise your hands. The staff member will be able to show you where to do this or you could take your own sanitiser with you. If you are unsure about signing in or where the sanitiser is ask a member of staff to sign in for you and to point out where the sanitiser is.
- In many venues, toilet facilities are being restricted to a one in one out system. As there are rarely accessible signs indicating this, it is sensible to ask staff about the toilet facilities on arrival.
- Some venues will ask you to sign in and order using an App on your phone, however not all of these Apps have been built with accessibility in mind. If you plan on going to a venue, ask when you are booking what their procedures are. If possible, download the App before you visit so you can get used to how it works.
We hope this guidance helps some of you to get out and about. We understand that there is a lot of anxiety out there, as the rules are changing so fast. Please do not hesitate to give us a call if there is anything further you think we might be able to help with.
Bristol, BANES, South Glos: Call 0117 322 4885
Wiltshire: Call 01380 723682
(Document was produced 24th July 2020)