Advertisement

Coronavirus: Toronto’s blind community calls for common sense amid distancing guidelines

A man walks past a physical distancing sign at the Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, B.C. Friday, April 3, 2020.
A man walks past a physical distancing sign at the Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, B.C. Friday, April 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Danny Gundy understands the new ways of interacting during the coronavirus pandemic, but he says he is just not happy with the guidelines in many instances.

“The attitudes definitely need to change a bit more,” said Gundy.

Staying two metres apart works for social distancing, but it doesn’t work well if you’re blind and need a hand staying safe while walking around the neighbourhood of Yonge and St. Clair in Toronto.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Sign language interpreter providing important service during Ontario news conferences

Gundy said he recently bumped into a pole while walking, and a woman told him she would’ve helped, but didn’t want to break social distancing guidelines.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

“She could have just called out beforehand and said, ‘Pole coming up.’ I’d like people to pull together,” Gundy said.

Story continues below advertisement

Gundy lost his sight as a young child and has been an advocate for the blind for decades. He’s hoping there are still people who wouldn’t mind helping out.

Currently, he isn’t the only one in the non-sighted community feeling frustrated.

Coronavirus: Ontario sign language interpreter delivers important messages
Coronavirus: Ontario sign language interpreter delivers important messages

“You often need another person to do things with you,” said Shannon Hill, who enjoys walks in the Bayview Avenue and Sheppard Avenue East area.

Hill, who is a member of the Trail Blazers — a blind cycling team, said the social distancing rules to fight COVID-19 are understandable. But she said her community is losing its independence because in many situations, a helping hand is needed.

“I interact with sighted people for things like using services, going grocery shopping and using public transit,” she said.

Story continues below advertisement