Lockdown is easing, businesses are opening, and many are returning to lives similar, okay not the same, as before. Yet there still seems to be a fair amount of reticence within VI communities about whether to venture out and what to expect. The first thing to remember though is that everyone’s expectations in terms of personal abilities and priorities are going to be vastly different, as indeed they will have been prior to Covid 19, but the real benefit of being part of a sight loss community is that doubtless at least one of your peers may have taken their first steps out into a particular part of society and be able to offer valuable feedback on what has changed, if anything, in this new normal.
So, I am taking this opportunity to share my personal experiences of a salon visit I made recently. This may come across as vain and won’t be applicable to all, but one thing I really missed during lockdown was the now luxury of visiting a hair salon. It goes without saying that as a guide dog owner I naturally attract a lot of attention and stares whilst out and one of my coping mechanisms for dealing with this unsolicited attention is to put more effort into my appearance.
So, six months after my last visit to my local salon I booked myself in, as restrictions were lifted. And what of the experience?
On entry I was greeted by one of the staff at the reception desk, which now incorporated a plastic screen. As part of the governments track and trace scheme my full contact details were taken. Again, as with other venues this was done for me without me having to ask. Yes, my white cane and guide dog give a clear indication that not all is well visually but if your sight loss is still a hidden disability don’t be afraid to ask if assistance is needed.
Following signing in I was guided, with no drama whatsoever, to a chair. All staff were in full face visors and clients had the option of whether or not they wanted to wear a mask. The whole experience was what can only be deemed as usual, barring some subtle changes. Social distancing was in place where possible, with clients being seen to in opposite sections of the store. Only one staff member and one client were using the sinks area at one time and the usual brews on offer were replaced with disposable bottles of water. At the end of my visit I still had the option to pay by the method of my choosing, either cash or card, a choice which I know will be important to many who favour one method over the other.
Obviously, these experiences are based on this particular venue, Headhunters, Huddersfield Road, Dewsbury, many others may choose to implement policies differently, but my key advice would be if venturing out…simply ask.
Sam, Communications Officer, KVIN