Its decision was made after RNIB got in touch to explain that a purely visual system is not accessible for blind or partially sighted people.
Marc Powell, strategic accessibility lead at RNIB, said:
This is a fantastic win for people with sight loss, particularly considering that many of us find social distancing near impossible, and we are thrilled that Aldi has been so responsive.
Social distancing has turned the world upside down for people with sight loss. Not only has it prevented many people from being guided effectively, but many of the indicators to aid social distancing are visual in nature, making them inaccessible for people who are blind or partially sighted.
Aldi announced back in May the introduction of the system, that involves lights turning from red to green, to let customers know they can enter the store. This system allows the supermarket to control the numbers in-store based on capacity and social distancing guidelines.
When we heard about the proposed system through the media, we knew we had to act. RNIB got in touch with Aldi to explain why lights alone would not be accessible to blind and partially sighted customers. Aldi pledged to talk to its supplier to determine whether an audible solution could be added.
Now an audio alert has been added to the system.
Steve Packer, RNIB’s special project manager, commented:
At RNIB we are constantly influencing and educating supermarkets and retailers to ensure all their social distancing initiatives are accessible for people with sight loss.
He is going to keep in contact with Aldi throughout the introduction of this new system, so we will share further updates.
We launched our World Upside Down campaign in response to the experiences that blind and partially sighted people are having while trying to social distance.
We’ve created guidance to explain to businesses how they can make social distancing measures more accessible to blind and partially sighted people. We are also working with Government to urgently clarify the situation for blind and partially sighted people requiring guiding and assistance.
You can download our guidance for different business sectors, and please do share it with any businesses you think would benefit.