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Accessibility tips for shops, cafes, and pubs

Soon we hope your business will be thriving again with many customers and many disabled people will soon be part of that throng. For some they may have been shielding for a year, for others there are some challenges faced by the restrictions. These tips should help you to be aware of the key issues for disabled people getting around and following restrictions as best they can:

  • Be patient and understanding if people are still finding their bearings after a long time away from the high street.
  • Ensure you can still take cash payments – it is a reasonable adjustment for those who struggle using card, have learning, or memory difficulties etc. A card machine that can be accessed at a low height also makes a big difference.
  • Face coverings, understand that exemptions exist for good reasons.
  • If you have a car park, have you lost any accessible parking spaces to facilitate queuing? Identify some new bays for accessible blue badge parking that are still near the entrance and ensure if someone cannot queue for long you have a solution.
  • Access to toilets is vital for many – ensure your accessible loo is still open as there are many who need to go urgently due to bowel or bladder problems as well as those who need extra space and not loo means lost customers.
  • Do not use A-boards as this makes it hard to navigate and creates pinch points that impact the ease for everyone to socially distance. Both wheelchair users and people with little or no vision also find it very difficult and incident prone to slalom around signs and other objects making an area less attractive to shop in.

Queuing, not everyone can see markers on the floor, guide dogs cannot social distance – work out how you can be understanding and support people:

  • Brief any queuing or security staff it might be impossible for someone to queue without support or stand for a long time in a long queue as an example. Note that sighted guiding is allowed under social distancing find out more at .GOV.UK .
  • Also, be aware that some who get agitated queuing may have a condition causing this so please be considerate in handling this a queue jump or priority queue may be appropriate.

If you are setting up an outdoor area for eating and drinking:

  • Ensure that there is at least 1.3m straight corridor past your premises so there is plenty of room for a wheelchair or mobility scooter.
  • Work with other businesses to ensure the same consistent corridor.
  • Keep an eye out for barriers, chairs, and tables drifting.
  • Ensure all barriers have a low-level bar that can be detected by visually impaired people using a long cane (not everyone has a Guide Dog!)

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