Recent articles.

All articles...

Quick Links.

GP? Optician? A&E? Visit the Eye Care Wales website for advice on where to seek help with eye problems.

WCB's twitter feed
WCB twitter feed

WCB Privacy notice




RESET Project logo
WCB RESET Project is supported by the Lottery Community Fund
Lottery Community Fund logo

RESET Home | Retail | Education | Social Care and Health | Employment | Transport


RESET Retail information booklet [Word | PDF]

On this page:


Wrong doors and lost sanitisers.

In August, I went to meet a friend in an outdoors café in Cardiff. I had heard that they were really good with social distancing and hygiene, so decided to give it a go. I had not been since the re-opening so, although I had been many times in the past, I obviously got it all wrong!

My guide dog proudly marched me down the little driveway towards the café to a chorus of “Oh I am sorry, we are going the wrong way” and “My fault, hang on, let me reverse” and so on. Obviously, we were entering through the exit – people were so kind though and no-one pointed out that we were in the wrong. I generally find that if I do things with sufficient confidence, however misplaced, people tend to assume that they are to blame! I subsequently discovered that there were two walkways into the shop on either side of a large rack of plants. Ruby had simply chosen the wider one to allow space for both of us.

I then totally missed the hand sanitizer on the wall as I went through the entrance porch. After a few attempts to direct me to it, the greeter gave up and I promised to use my own sanitizer, which I reassured her was the required 60% alcohol. In fact, it was 70%, so was probably better than theirs anyway!

We then followed the greeter to a little bus shelter style seating area (after a few attempts by Ruby to join other parties on the way) and had a lovely lunch and we didn’t disgrace ourselves at all again until the end when the greeter had to find my sanitizer on the floor after it had fallen out of my pocket.

I have been a few times since and, now that we know the ropes, we are much better at conforming.

Closing the social distance.

When I first went to the local shop after shielding for 4 months, I didn’t know how things worked at all. My guide dog marched me confidently to the door and I was aware of some sounds to my left – that slight shuffling and shoe scuffing of people who are a bit embarrassed and don’t know whether to speak or not. I said “Good girl, Ruby, for finding the door. Is there a queue?” The gentleman at the front of the queue said that there was but that we were welcome to go first. We then spent the next few minutes chatting to everyone in the queue as we worked our way to the back, each person offering to let us go first and each time my saying that we were fine to go the back but that Ruby was trained to find the door rather than the back of a queue. I then had a lovely chat with the man next to me in the queue, giving him directions to the closest barbers. Why he thought I would know I don’t know. He then proceeded to have a long chat with the man in front of him, opening with the words “You look as though work out a lot”, and he asked him whether tattoos stayed looking good if you become very muscular after having a tattoo. I have to say that I enjoyed the opportunity for human interaction and entertainment, however bizarre, offered by the need to queue.


Postal deliveries

Royal Mail are collecting parcels from the sender.

How to book your collection:

  1. Buy postage with Click and Drop.
  2. Select the items you wish to send and input the recipient and sender details.
  3. Once the items are in your basket, select the “Arrange collection” option.
  4. You can then add the collection details, select the day of your collection and proceed to checkout as normal.
  5. Print your label and affix it to your parcel, ready for collection.

More information is given at

Use the eBay app

Use the eBay app for purchasing goods there. It’s been reported to us that it is more accessible than the desktop site.

Know your pharmacy

Find out which pharmacies will be open over the Christmas period. Community Pharmacy Wales will be able to tell you the timetables in your area:

Telephone: 029 2044 2070

Get a volunteer to help with shopping

If you are having difficulty getting out and about, your local Community Voluntary Council can let you know about community-based services and support such as help to get your shopping. There are details on WCB’s website at Also, check the tips from Henshaws for people shopping on behalf of people with sight loss at

or from Blind Veterans at

Know the opening times

As shops get busier, it is worth checking the opening hours of the shop or shopping centre before visiting.

Keep your home well-stocked with essentials

It is important to have everything you need to hand should you fall ill, particularly if you have no immediate help from friends and family. Disability Wales has advice on food and other items that people should have at home during this time, and are also offering to put people in touch with local support if they are unable to get to the shops

The list is as follows:


Frozen items:


Other items:

Check accessibility

If you plan to eat out, it’s worth checking how accessible the venue is before you visit, particularly as the changes they’ve made might create accessibility problems. An initial check can be made through a website: AccessAble (formerly DisabledGo) has a facility enabling you to find out about the access facilities at various shops and shopping centres:

Remember to ring beforehand to check that they are still able to provide an accessible service.


Welsh Government guidance on access to food and essential supplies.

Welsh Government advice on shopping.

What shops are open?

All retail shops can open, if they can comply with the duty to take reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to and prevent the spread of coronavirus in Welsh law. People should avoid unnecessary travel and avoid crowded spaces, particularly indoors.

Can I now travel as far as I want to go to the shops?

There are no legal limits on travel within Wales, but people are still advised to avoid unnecessary travel and avoid crowded spaces, particularly indoors.

Can I go shopping with my friends?

We do not advise going shopping with friends or any person you do not live with. However, if you do choose to do this, we ask you to

If you are meeting people you do not live with, in most circumstances the absolute maximum number of people who can gather together is four (not including any children aged under 11). However, this is a maximum and not a target – the smaller the number of people who gather, the lower the risk.

What if I have been shielding, can I go to the shops?

Yes, the advice to shield has been paused so you no longer need to avoid all shops. However, you should still be very careful so should shop at quieter times, should make sure you maintain a 2m distance from others and wash your hands or use hand sanitiser regularly.

I live close to the border between Wales and England, can I cross the border to go to the shops?

As a matter of Welsh law, this is permitted if you need to buy food, medical supplies or products for the upkeep of the home (either your own, or the home of a person you care for).

However, you will also need to follow the laws in place in England, which the Welsh Government cannot advise you on.

Face coverings and exemptions.

Where will face coverings be required?

Face coverings must be worn in all indoor public places, including shops, on public transport and taxis, and in places where food and drink is served, other than when you are seated to eat or drink. This applies to everyone aged 11 and over, unless an exception applies. Children under 11 do not have to wear face coverings.

Can I be exempt from wearing a face covering?  

Some people do not have to wear a face covering, and there are a number of circumstances in which people can also temporarily remove coverings. Please be mindful and respectful of such circumstances, noting that some people may be less able to wear face coverings and the reasons for this may not be visible to others.

You may have a reasonable excuse not to wear a face covering if (for example):

From experience in other countries where face coverings have been required, we know survivors of violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence sometimes find that wearing a mask triggers flashbacks to traumatic experiences. If that applies to you then this would also be a good reason not to wear a face covering.

How can I show that I am not required to wear a face covering?

Whether somebody has a reasonable excuse not to wear a face covering will not always be obvious. Disabilities and impairments are not always visible to others, such as neurodevelopmental conditions, and respect and understanding should be shown to those who have good reasons not to wear face coverings.

Those who have an age, health or disability reason for not wearing a face covering should not be routinely asked to give any written evidence of this. You do not need to seek advice or request a letter from a medical professional about your reason for not wearing a face covering.

Some people may feel more comfortable showing something that says they do not have to wear a face covering. This could be in the form of an exemption card, badge or even a home-made sign. A number of organisations have created cards that can be downloaded from their websites and printed, and the Welsh Government has a downloadable card you can use for the purpose:

Carrying an exemption card is a personal choice and is not necessary in law.

Hidden Disabilities ‘sunflower’ lanyard.

These lanyards, or badges, are available for a variety of purposes. One card, for example, reads ‘I am visually impaired’ (one wonders if people in general would know what that means) while another reads ‘Face covering exempt’ - useful to avoid altercations with shopkeepers and customers alike if you have medical grounds for not wearing a mask. They are available online for businesses to bulk-buy at

The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower products are strictly not for resale by individuals, businesses or organisations - they are intended to be donated to customers free of charge. You should be able to obtain one at mainstream retailers such as supermarkets.

Advice on social distancing from Henshaws – eleven top tips:    


Advice to retailers on serving blind and partially-sighted people.

A guide dog user's experience.

This video from the BBC shows some of the difficulties:

RNIB's advice for leisure facilities, retailers, restaurants, pubs and cafes.


The following explains the Covid19 Symptom Tracker App and encourages all to download and report  their symptoms daily, even if that means reporting having no symptoms:

A wide range of information in Easy Read can also be accessed on the NHS Direct Wales website (COVID19)


Mutual aid groups.

Here's a searchable list of Mutual Aid Groups. Find your local groups.


Social Distancing help.

Sodar is a social distancing app for Android and Chrome.

Connect by Tech.

Would you like to get more out of being online? Macular Society Connect by Tech is a brand new service to help people make the most of things like tablets, smartphones and smart speakers to stay connected.

They can help you do the things you want to do, or help if you are curious about trying. Perhaps it’s a video call, joining a chat group, online shopping, finding health advice, exercise ideas or listening to the latest best-seller. Just let them know what you want to do and one of their friendly volunteers will be in touch to help.

Email your name, and what you would like to be able to do to or call Advice & Information Line on 0300 3030 111.

Tech support from Sight Cymru.

Sight Cymru offers technology support and equipping people to do zoom calls on all types of devices including those with synaptic. The demand for this has increased and so we are doing what we could to support people in reaching their loved ones virtually where possible.

Be My Eyes

The 'Be My Eyes' app is reminding vi people that their volunteers are available to help:

Be My Eyes is a free app that connects blind and partially sighted people to sighted volunteers for visual assistance through a live video call. The app is available on iOS and Android devices.


Supermarket COVID policy and practice.

In-store shopping.

Most supermarkets have a traffic light system to ensure that social distancing guidelines can be followed easily and safely. This is sometimes coupled with an audio-prompt system for people with sight difficulties. Other stores may simply have staff at the door to control numbers of people.

There are usually indicators on the floor to suggest the distances to be maintained between people. These depend on vision for their use.

Masks are mandatory in all stores in Wales, unless you are exempt for health reasons. See elsewhere in this edition for the Welsh Government’s downloadable exemption card. Carrying an exemption card is not necessary in law but it might make life a bit easier.

Payment options for volunteer shoppers.

If you are staying at home and someone is shopping for you, some supermarkets sell gift cards and vouchers that can be used to pay for shopping. These can be purchased online by the person staying at home and used by the person who goes to the shop. (Payment options given below are from the Welsh Government website).


These have been made available in some stores that didn’t previously provide them. They’ll have their own methods of social distancing and hygiene at both the packing and delivery stages. It is likely that you’ll be expected to take the goods into your house yourself without the assistance of the driver, so be prepared for that if you need help.

Food boxes.

If you are unable visit the shops or have been unable to book a delivery slot, there is an alternative. Some supermarkets are supplying food boxes delivered to your home weekly, fortnightly, monthly and as a one-off. The prices vary according to the type of box you require.



Aldi have a system of contact-free deliveries for online shopping. For larger orders you may be contacted directly to discuss the safest way to deliver your parcel. Their carriers will not be able to enter your home or property.

Payment options for volunteer shoppers (see above):

Food parcels: can be ordered online. However, there is a limited number available and they do sell out.

Customer service phone: 0800 042 0800


Asda Safety Marshals will be stationed at the front of every store and in the aisles of larger stores. They will be on hand to help customers with safety queries and reiterate Government guidelines to wear a face covering and maintain social distancing while they shop. Customers who do not have a covering when they enter the store will be offered a pack of disposable masks that they can pay for as they complete their shopping. Additionally, those marshals stationed at the store entrance will provide sanitised baskets / trolleys to customer as they enter the store.

Payment options for volunteer shoppers (see above):

Food boxes: a variety of food boxes which can be ordered online.

Helpline Number: 0800 5193333


Co-op has a dedicated shopping hour for vulnerable customers, those who care for them and NHS workers. The hour is 8am to 9am Monday to Saturday and from 10am to 11am on Sundays.

They’ve made it easier for those staying at home to pay for and get their essentials delivered with the Community Shopping Scheme. If you’ve been instructed by the Government to stay home, you can purchase or top up your Community Shopping Card by calling 0800 029 4592. Friends, family or volunteers can use this to do your shopping in store.

Payment options for volunteer shoppers (see above):


Iceland are offering priority home delivery slots to those on the UK governments' official 'shielded' lists of the most vulnerable people, and have made direct contact by email with those who are already on the Iceland customer database to offer them priority shopping opportunities. The customers need to be registered on their government's database and with (new customers can register at Customers that are matched to the governments' data will receive the email, as detailed above. They recommend that all customers on the vulnerable database create an account on, even if they shop with Iceland in other ways, to make sure they receive the email and are ready to book their slot when priority access is given.


As with ALDI, there is a traffic light system in place to determine when you can enter the shop.

Staff may remind customers of the requirement to wear a face covering in Lidl’s stores. However, they understand that some customers are exempt from doing so.

When purchasing age-restricted products, you may be asked to temporarily remove you face covering by store colleagues to verify your age.

In-store bakery: there are disposable gloves for you to use in order to bag loose items yourself, safely. 

Food parcels: Too Good to Waste boxes. The boxes comprise food that would otherwise be disposed of. They charge £1.50 per 5kg box and they are available in store only.

Customer Services: 0800 977 7766 / 0370 444 1234


Payment options for volunteer shoppers (see above):


Morrisons have partnered with Deliveroo for delivery of certain products to your home. (Some supermarkets now enable you to order groceries using Deliveroo. These include Morrisons, Aldi, and Coop. However, this service is not available everywhere.)

Payment options for volunteer shoppers (see above):

Food boxes: can be ordered online as one off items or as a regular delivery. In addition, they offer a doorstop delivery service which enables you to order a small selection of groceries over the phone and pay when they are delivered to your door the next day, by a colleague or champion from your local Morrisons store.

Helpline Number: 0344 3815042


Payment options for volunteer shoppers (see above):



Payment options for volunteer shoppers (see above):


Waitrose has announced that they will prioritise elderly, disabled and vulnerable customers whenever there’s a queue outside the store.

Payment options for volunteer shoppers (see above):

Cash withdrawals via Post Office Ask-a-Friend scheme extended.

The Post Office has extended its Ask-a-Friend scheme to allow people who may be shielding or self-isolating to authorise a trusted person to withdraw cash for them. More at the BBC site:


Western Power Distribution: How to register for a priory service if you are medically dependent on electricity or vulnerable.

A page on Money Saving Expert listing the help with pre-paid cards and keys for energy.

Welsh Water advice and help:


Online Scams.

Remember that banks generally do not message you about payments. Don't click on messages claiming to be from banks. Check this web page for advice on avoiding scams: moneyadviceservice.

Information about a current online scam, which claims to be a bank notifying you of an unpaid bill:

Staying safe from fraud - Coronavirus phishing scams

The following information has been provided by Gwent Police Cyber Crime Team:

There have been reports of fake Coronavirus emails and text messages being received. These messages claim to be from official sources for example, the HMRC or World Health Organisation. They claim to offer safety advice, tax refunds or similar, but include malicious web links or attachments. Whether a message is received by a phone call, text or email, to help avoid these scams:

People are also being urged to be vigilant about other scams offering help with Universal Credit, malicious software sent via fake emails and text messages that can encrypt and lock your device, and emails, texts or calls purporting to be from HMRC and Microsoft.

You can report fraud and cyber-crime to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. For further information, visit their website:

National Trading Standards has issued advice to avoid scams:

North Wales Police advice: advice-and-support/fraud/what-is-fraud/


This page is being maintained by Richard Bowers: Please send updates and corrections to him.