How can I be guided safely during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic?

New national lockdown restrictions came into force across all of England on Tuesday 6 January, which say that you should minimise time spent outside your home.

These restrictions mean that there are significant limitations on where people can go and who they can meet. You may be fined £200 for a first offence, and up to £6,400 for repeated offences, if lockdown regulations are broken.

Details of how the restrictions will be applied can be found on the National lockdown: Stay at Home web page.

All of the devolved nations of the UK have similar levels of restriction on meeting people outside of your household and on movement, although the specifics are slightly different for each. For more details, follow the links below:

Sighted Guiding

Where possible, your best option will still be support from a sighted guide within your household or support bubble (household bubble), with whom contact remains unrestricted. You will still need to follow the DHSC guidance Getting support outside your home and Sighted Guiding guidance by RNIB, Guide Dogs and Thomas Pocklington Trust.

Where you’re able to go, what you can do and who you can go with in England is dependent on the tier level you are currently living in, which you should check on Local restriction tiers: what you need to know. This is subject to regular review, so you must take steps to stay aware of any changes.

Government guidance now includes an exclusion to limits on gatherings in all tiers in their provisions 'to provide care or assistance to someone vulnerable or to provide respite for a carer'. We have confirmed that this applies to sighted guides, who do not have to be included in restrictions on numbers while they are guiding. Once guiding has finished, if their staying means that there are too many people present, they must wait somewhere safe until they are needed to provide sighted guiding support again.

There are a series of instructional videos on the Guide Dog website covering the essentials of how to guide.  

If you need further advice or support during this time, please call RNIB on 0303 123 9999 or visit the GOV.UK coronavirus (Covid-19) web pages, along with additional information for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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