So, that’s it. The plan B restrictions are lifted (for the latest guidance, please visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus).
This news can certainly feel like ‘the pandemic is over’. But we, as disabled people, know that is far from true.
Managing COVID19 is now entirely down to personal risk assessment, which leaves us making choices everyday about what we can take part in, while reducing the risk of infection.
Of course, like most things in the pandemic, this disproportionately affects disabled people.
We will be left to choose between doing a food shop or socialising with friends and family. We may have to choose whether or not to stay in work or volunteer roles because the work from home order is no longer in place. It could mean choosing to stay indoors when everyone is outside enjoying the weather because the crowds make us nervous without masks and protection.
On the brighter side – the pandemic has seen some improvements for disabled people.
More outdoor dining does make things more accessible for us. Pre-booking to manage numbers has helped us know there will be space for us and that our requirements have been considered, with safety measures more prominent and easier to find out about.
There has been more flexibility in how we can work as we have been able to work from home, where this was once denied. Many of us have improved our health in the slower pace of life.
So, while we are grateful that some invisible barriers have disappeared with the pandemic, does lifting restrictions create a whole new array of invisible barriers?
If you’re thinking about heading out into the city now that things are returning to ‘normal’ – rest assured that at Shopmobility, we will still be offering hand sanitiser and wearing masks. You are welcome to do the same, and we look forward to seeing you. You can find out more about Shopmobility here: https://www.equallives.org.uk/shopmobility-norwich