The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has clarified the rules on sighted guiding during the lockdown in England, which began on 5 November.
As the lockdown began, we called on the Government to clarify the situation with sighted guiding. We argued that someone who is guiding a blind or partially sighted person should not be counted in the Government’s limit of only allowing two people to meet outdoors.
The DHSC has confirmed that while it is preferable for a sighted guide to be part of your household or support bubble, as long as you take the right steps, you can continue to be guided by someone outside of your household. This applies both indoors and outdoors.
The new guidance from Government clarifies that any volunteer or carer supporting you outdoors will not be counted towards the two-person limit.
Along with Thomas Pocklington Trust and Guide Dogs, we have produced a short guidance note, outlining the current restrictions in England, and how blind and partially sighted people can continue to be supported by a sighted guide.
You should also refer to our full guidance on sighted guiding (also produced with Thomas Pocklington Trust and Guide Dogs). This explains how sighted guiding can be provided in different circumstances, and what precautions you should take.
Sarah Lambert, RNIB Head of Social Change, said:
We’ve been pushing for clarity on sighted guiding through our World Upside Down campaign, and we’re delighted that Government has taken a common-sense approach, so that blind people who need sighted guiding can get out to carry out essential activities and exercise.
Find out more about our campaigning during the coronavirus pandemic.