Free badges and lanyards to help Covid-anxious Scots ask for space

The scheme has been backed by the Scottish Government, with the free products available at Asda stores and libraries.

Free badges and lanyards to help Covid-anxious Scots ask for space Email
Scheme: The free products will help those concerned about Covid while out in public.

Free lanyards and badges will be made available to people concerned about Covid-19 who would prefer additional space and care while out in public. 

Featuring an easily-recognisable shield symbol, the free items will be available from January 26 from all community and mobile libraries in Scotland, with the badges also available at Asda stores. 

The items can also be ordered from the Scottish Government website, but will incur a postage fee.

The free products are part of the voluntary Distance Aware scheme, which was launched by Welsh think tank the Bevan Commission.

It followed research that almost three quarters of people on the highest risk list said they would like to signal to others to give them extra space. 

The Scottish Government has now announced it has invested £55,500 to buy and distribute badges and lanyards, as well as promoting the scheme.

Health secretary Humza Yousaf said that while many people are beginning to adapt to living with Covid, high-risk individuals may feel anxious about going out in public. 

He said: “This scheme not only provides vital reassurance to anyone who chooses to wear a badge or lanyard, but also encourages us all to be more aware and considerate of those around us – as we simply don’t know their circumstances or concerns.

“I hope this will help people feel more confident and comfortable to go about their daily lives. The shield symbol can be worn by anyone.”

Marie Hayes from the British Red Cross said the organisation ‘fully supports” the introduction of the badges and lanyards, adding that the scheme will be highlighted to callers contacting their Connecting with You service. 

She said: “Many people are experiencing loneliness, and are fearful of going out of their own homes as a result of the pandemic.

“We believe Distance Aware can help overcome this and help them to re-engage with social activities. This could be invaluable in helping to tackle loneliness.”

Brian Boyle, Asda senior director for Scotland said: “We are delighted to work with the Scottish Government to implement this scheme in Scotland. There has been interest in the free Distance Aware badges, particularly from our more vulnerable customers.

“As people become aware of the badge and its meaning, the more effective it will be in helping people to feel safer and less worried when they are out and about.”