‘Blind people are at the bottom of the pile during pandemic’

Amanda Foster says that blind people are facing new challenges in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

A blind woman has spoken of the difficulties visually impaired people are facing during the coronavirus pandemic.

Amanda Foster from Aberdeen says that life has been especially difficult recently for those who cannot physically see one way systems or judge social distancing.

Blind since birth, Amanda says people in her situation should be considered more before decisions around social distancing are made.

She finds shopping particularly challenging as towns and cities have adapted to suit the new normal.

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“We’ve got the going in one door and out another door, you’ve got the hand sanitiser that you know if we were going in ourselves we wouldn’t know unless some kind person said ‘oh you’ve got to use hand sanitiser’,” she explains. 

Guided by neighbour Fraya, Amanda recently went shopping in Aberdeen in a bid to remap the world she once knew so well. 

“Fraya was telling me there was actually a sign saying ‘be careful, cleaning in progress’,” she say.

“Well we wouldn’t see that, there are just so many different hazards now that makes it really really difficult for a blind person to be going out shopping themselves.

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“Especially if you are [someone] that used to go shopping, because it takes your independence away.”

Amanda says people in her situation should be considered more during the pandemic, adding that those with impairment issues should be exempt from social distancing. 

“I’ve always believed that we have been totally forgotten about, we’ve been put on the bottom of the pile,” she says.

“Right from the get go, in my view, what they should have done is said ‘if you are blind you can, if you want to, be exempt from social distancing all together.”