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RNIB sends supermarkets guidance on how to help blind and partially sighted shoppers

RNIB has sent guidance for helping blind and partially sighted shoppers during the coronavirus pandemic to key UK supermarkets and retailers.

We recently sent new guidance to supermarkets asking them to prioritise blind and partially sighted customers in the current environment and we are also asking all shoppers to share a shorter version of the guide with their local and smaller shops.

Matt Stringer, RNIB’s chief executive, said: “We know it is vital to make shopping as accessible as possible – particularly in the current circumstances – so I’m pleased retailers are engaging with us. 

“We are encouraging all retailers to follow our in store best practice guidelines, but we also urge shoppers to be vocal about any shortcomings.”

Key elements highlighted by the guidance for retailers include requests for awareness, changes to the shopping environment which can be considered, alternatives to guiding and the challenge of social distancing.

For instance, one of the guidelines explains: "Many customers living with sight loss will find it difficult to maintain and practice social distancing. Guide dogs are amazing animals, but they are unaware that social distancing is in force, so please help blind and partially sighted shoppers maintain the appropriate distances. Potential announcements such as: “Please maintain your social distance and consider others around you” could help to support all customers."

Marc Powell, strategic accessibility lead at RNIB, added: “We hope these simple, but important, guidelines can support both the supermarkets and their blind and partially sighted customers in the current circumstances. We know the supermarkets are doing all they can to meet the demands of their customers; we wanted to provide support to ensure the in-store experience for blind and partially sighted people was as safe - and practical - as possible."

Please share RNIB's guidance for retailers with any local shops or stores which would benefit from it.