Another example of how COVID-19 safety measures are having a huge impact on disabled people.
• Disabled bays blocked for COVID-19 queues
• No additional spaces made available
• Restrictions and limited access for blue badge holders
If you are a wheelchair user or struggle to walk any distance then in the good old ‘pre-covid’ days you used to be able to go to a store and park near the entrance – in fact this has been the case since 1970 when orange badges were first introduced as part of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970.
You’d place your blue badge on the windscreen and happy days, you got the wide space needed to get your wheelchair out of the car or you managed to park close enough so you could walk to the shop.
For a minute let us ignore the fact there are many people abusing the blue badge system and it’s easy to get one…
Genuine blue badge holders need the space. If you are an independent wheelchair user who transfers to the drivers seat and puts their wheelchair across their lap and onto the passenger seat (which 1000’s of people do daily) then you need the wide space to fully open the door. Just like if you use crutches and need to fully open the door or may struggle to navigate across the car park using sticks – or any one of the genuine reasons why blue badges and disabled parking bays exist.
But disabled parking spaces are becoming even more sparse as they are being blocked off to make way for ‘COVID safe’ measures, such as click and collect or store queues. It’s as though the need for the spaces has just vanished without any consideration or extra spaces being made available. It would be easy to block off another area of the car park for blue badge holders and replace the original proper bays.
“It’s not just car parking, wheelchair access and disabled people’s rights seem to have just gone out the window since COVID, it’s effecting people daily and it’s outrageous”
It appears there is nothing that can be done and disabled people who need the use of dedicated bays just have to take their chance that one of the very few remaining available spaces are free when they arrive at the store.
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Hopefully one day when COVID queues are a thing of the past disabled spaces will become available again and those who genuinely need the wide or closer parking will be able to go shopping again like everyone else.
Have you been effected by disabled parking or other access due to COVID-19?
We are keen to hear from you – please email: firstname.lastname@example.org