It is difficult for most people to navigate safely during the Covid-19 pandemic but it is harder for people with visual disability.
Social distancing is the word of 2020 and many people are making an effort to follow all the protocols. However, people with visual impairment need special provisions to follow these protocols.
People with visual disabilities often need support of other people to perform their daily activities while social distancing requires to maintain physical distance from people.
On World Vision Day, which is celebrated every year on the second Thursday of October, let us understand why social distancing in the times of Covid-19 crisis is a challenge for people with visual disabilities.
Speaking to Miami Herald, chief executive officer of the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind, Virginia Jacko said that the touch of the person gives her an understanding of the direction to look at while speaking to the particular person. “With social distancing, this tactile information is lost.”
She also explains that taking elevators has become a challenging task now. Whenever the elevator stops at her floor, she needs to ask if there is anybody present in the elevator. By the time she receives a response, the door of the elevator starts closing.
55-year-old Lucilla, who lives in Rome, Italy could not go shopping since the pandemic hit her country. Speaking to BBC in July, she said that she used to usually take the Metro C but the authorities change everything in San Giovanni to practice social distancing norms. “This limits my exits and makes it more difficult,” she said.
Mike Lance, motivational speaker who hosts the call-in show Blind Side of Living, told Miami Herald earlier this year that the situation is difficult for people with blindness and they don’t know how to deal with it.
However, many tips are also being shared for people with blindness to practice social distancing while going around. A person with low vision shared that blind people should use a cane and wear a high visibility vest.
He also suggested that while traveling, they should speak to the bus company and try to get assistance in the new setting, if possible.