In the UK, Covid 19 has been a stressful and isolating disease for the millions of people who have had to shield and are still shielding, so getting out and about after months of isolation is vitally important for the mental health of disabled people and their families.
But while people are building up their confidence to go out, but councils, stores and theme parks across the UK seem to be doing all they can to deter people with disabilities from coming to their shops and using their facilities.
It is just over a week ago that Gullivers Theme Parks wouldn’t let people with learning disabilities, mental health issues, physical disabilities, who are exempt from wearing face masks on any of their rides. This policy has now been resolved thanks to Ability Access.
Yesterday while out shopping in Nottingham, Next have decided to close off two disabled parking bays so that people could queue up to get into their store. One of the problems is with this is that where the entrance queue was into the shop there was a dropped curb so if people were queueing up they would have to turn round and come in through the exit.
After this image was posted on Ability Access dozens of messages and images were sent in saying that this is happening all across the country and that large companies like Next, Gullivers Theme Parks, TK Max, Wicks and other major stores are closing off disabled bays which are vital for people who have a blue badge, to enable them to get out into the community and closing off those bays makes it very difficult or impossible for people to park their cars and then get in and out their cars, particularly if they have wheelchairs or scooters.
Litchfield City Council is just one of a number of councils that have closed off disabled bays.
While there does need to be a certain degree of sensibility about restrictions, closing off designated disabled bays is not one of them as it means that the disabled people who need to get out the most, can’t.
It seems that because stores are desperate for funds they are diminishing their integrity, ignoring the needs of disabled people and concentrating on the larger audience rather than focusing on the needs of everyone, particularly disabled people.
This is another simple case of disability discrimination and companies like Next, Wicks TK Max and other large stores who are blocking off the disabled bays should be ashamed of what they are doing and helping and have more compassion for people with disabilities to get out as they are the ones who in most cases have been isolating the most.