I am worried about accessing products and services during the coronavirus pandemic, who can help?

In addition to longer hours most supermarkets are offering special opening hours, to allow vulnerable and blind and partially sighted customers to shop as safely as possible. For links to all the supermarkets and their current hours/Covid-19 updates please visit our Essential links and information on supermarket opening.

If you are able to get out to do your shopping remember that it is mandatory to wear a face covering on public transport and in shops.

When you go out use your symbol cane if you have one to let others know you have sight loss. Make a store assistant aware of your sight loss when you enter the store, most assistants will be willing to help you find the items you need. 

For more information on face coverings (including exemptions) and social distancing, visit the gov.uk coronavirus (Covid-19) web pages, with additional information for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Getting to the shops

The London Taxicard scheme has introduced extra services for customers. You can now use you Taxicard for:

  • Taxicard drivers to pick up and deliver essential supplies for you; and 
  • Allow friends and family to travel on your behalf using your Taxicard for the same purpose

Please check their website for full details and further information.

Further Help

The NHS Volunteer responders may be able to help you if you meet specific criteria, or consider yourself vulnerable for another reason (for instance, you have Parkinson's, Epilepsy or are vulnerable due to a mental health condition) and you need help collecting shopping, medication or would like a telephone ‘check in and chat’.

The specific criteria for help can be found on their website but it does include:

  • People aged 70 years and older with underlying health conditions
  • People who have a disability as defined by the Equality Act 2010
  • If you are in the ‘extremely vulnerable’ to Covid-19 group and have been sent a letter asking you to shield from the virus 

If you meet the specific criteria you can call them on 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm) to arrange volunteer support.

The governments vulnerable list was closed to new registrations, as most of England were advised that they no longer needed to shield from the 1 April 2021. Further guidance on the support still available can be found on the gov.uk shielding guidance web page.

Contact your local authority if you need urgent help getting essential supplies and cannot rely on supermarket deliveries, family, friends or neighbours.

This service is available in England. If you live in Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales further information can be found on the following links:

For further information please also see How do I engage with my local support networks? and I can't go out; can I get my shopping delivered?

If you need further advice or support during this time, please call RNIB on 0303 123 9999.

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