Best Practice Covid-19 Leisure Guidelines from RNIB, BBS and Metro Blind Sport
Covid-19: Supporting your blind and partially sighted members and participants. With a little support blind and partially sighted people can stay safe whilst being active.
- Download: Helping you to help others PDF
- Download: Best Practice Sport & Leisure Summary PDF
- Download: Best Practice Sport & Leisure Guidelines PDF
1. Visual indicators and awareness
Be aware of who could be blind and partially sighted
It’s important to remember that blind and partially sighted people don’t necessarily “look blind”. Not all blind and partially sighted people wear dark glasses, have a cane or a guide dog, so be mindful that it may not always be obvious.
If you think that someone might require assistance or they have a visual indicator (which includes wearing the sunflower lanyard), a simple introduction and “Is there anything I can assist you with?”, can go a long way.
Staff Introduce yourself as customers may not see your uniform/name tag – “Hi I’m Steve, I’m your Duty Manager, is there anything I can do to help today?”.
Social distancing Research carried out by RNIB found that almost two-thirds of blind or partially sighted people say they’ve found maintaining a social distance difficult – guide dogs are amazing animals, but they are unaware that social distancing is in force.
Potential announcements such as: “Please maintain your social distance and consider others around you.” could help to support all your members.
For more information on the challenges of social distancing, please refer to RNIB’s short video:
‘How to socially distance when this is your view’
2. Inside the facility and customer experience Guiding
We know that sticking to government guidelines and social distancing is very important at this time, but RNIB research shows that 48% of blind or partially sighted people were concerned or anxious about following social distancing guidance correctly. Guiding someone who is blind or partially sighted around your facilities in the “traditional way” is not currently an option.
Therefore, if someone requires guiding and there is not a safe and comfortable way in which social distancing measures can be adhered to, especially in the context of active participation or whilst using equipment, verbal guidance may need to be considered.
3. Colour contrast
Be mindful of the visual appearance of any temporary signage, ensuring there is clear colour contrast – otherwise blind and partially sighted customers may not be able to read them. Also, try to add this same logic to any online content you create.
4. Tactile markers and audio announcements
We support the use of safe tactile indicators or markers and audible announcements to provide your members with information in non-visual formats. For example, using tactile floor markers to identify one-way systems in changing rooms.
5. Flexibility for guides
We understand that facilities will request that people workout by themselves or socially distance while participating in different activities. We hope that you’ll consider relaxing these provisions for people who are blind or partially sighted and allow them to participate with their own guide or carer.
For many blind and partially sighted members, identifying equipment can be a difficult and extremely tactile process. To maintain the required level of hygiene, specifically highlight to your blind and partially sighted members where and how they can sterilise their hands, equipment and any other facilities they may use.
Help people find facilities
Covid 19 may have resulted in changes to facility layouts – this can be confusing if you can’t see too well. If someone looks lost – ask them and let them know where things are.
7. Protective screens
With the installation of protective screens within your facilities, it’s important to ensure there is good contrast, so they don’t create unnecessary confusion. This can be as simple as putting tape around the edge of the screen and payment terminal location.
8. Ask someone if they need help
People appreciate being asked if they need help. If you think that someone needs help, just say hello and ask
How to Interact
For more information on how to interact with your blind and partially sighted customers, please refer to RNIB’s “Helping you to help your customers” resource
While there is much more to be learned by booking a practical training session with an RNIB expert, here are a few simple tools which could make the world of difference, and help you stand out from the crowd:
- Introduce yourself and talk directly to the person you are helping
- If you are going to guide them, let them take your arm, don’t grab theirs
- Don’t walk away without saying you are leaving
- Treat people with disabilities with respect and consideration
- Be open to different communication styles
- Don’t make assumptions about what type of disability, or disabilities, a person has
- Remember, some disabilities are not visible. Take the time to get to know your customers’ needs
- Ask before you offer to help — don’t just jump in. Customers with disabilities know if they need help and how you can provide it
To find out how RNIB Business could help you to better support your customers and employees who are living with sight loss, please contact our team at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01733 375 370.