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Guides may come from outside the household in Scotland if needed confirms Minister

Blind and partially sighted people in Scotland can be guided by someone living outside their household, if necessary, Christina McKelvie MSP, Minister for Older People and Equalities, has confirmed.

In a response to a parliamentary question from South of Scotland MSP Colin Smyth, Ms McKelvie reaffirmed it is permissible to help anyone at risk who needs support, including guiding for people with sight loss.

“The Scottish Government has used "at risk", rather than "vulnerable" to reflect that a lot of people do not consider themselves vulnerable but may, due to a range of circumstances which may or may not be medical, find themselves at greater risk than the wider population," Ms McKelvie said. "This may include those who require a guide from another household.”

The Scottish Government, however, is emphasising the importance of limiting the time spent at less than two metres from each other. Scottish Government guidance on face coverings and maintaining good hand hygiene must also be observed.

James Adams, RNIB Scotland director, said: “This is very welcome news for blind and partially sighted people, many of whom live alone. We know some felt very isolated and unsure about going out by themselves.

"This can have a significant impact on a person’s ability to do things that the rest of us take for granted such as navigating shops, taking part in daily exercise, and being confident that you are socially distanced from others when out and about.

"Being able to be guided by someone outside your household, if necessary, will help reassure many people who felt their ability to leave their house has been eroded since lockdown."