With social distancing leading to new ways of shopping, businesses need to be aware of the ongoing need to make sure our high streets are as accessible as possible. Not all disabilities are visible and there may be a good reason why someone appears not to be following social distancing measures.

If someone looks like they might need support, don’t be afraid to offer to help (if they are fine, they will say) and talk to the person, rather than their carer.

Some general points you might find helpful:

  • Visually impaired: It takes a lot of time to learn routes from home to specific destinations. Please keep any new barriers to a minimum to avoid putting visually impaired shoppers off from returning.
  • Hearing impaired: With the increase of face masks it will be harder for those with hearing difficulties to lip read. You can get face coverings or masks with clear inserts which can help customers lip read. You can also make sure you have a white board and marker, or pen and paper, to help with written communication.
  • Social distancing messaging and signage: Make sure any signs are clear and easy to read. Think about the font, layout and using images.
  • Mobility impaired: Be careful where you place any signs or boards to ensure those with reduced mobility can easily get around inside and outside your business.

You can find more information on the government’s website.

AccessAble gives detailed access information about 600 local businesses in the area including shops, pubs, restaurants, theatres and other public venues. This information can make a huge difference for people with hearing, vision or mobility related access concerns. The guide may also be useful for older people and those with pushchairs.

Each business on the website will have received free disability awareness materials showing how they could offer a better service to disabled customers.

AccessAble works in partnership with the Tandridge Access Group when reviewing information about the accessibility of local premises.