More barriers can't be the new normal
Lockdown restrictions that ease today must not inadvertently create new barriers for blind and partially sighted people and those with other disabilities, says the national sight loss charity RNIB Scotland.
Shops, gyms, swimming pools, pubs, restaurants and cafes in Scotland are reopening after a four month-long winter lockdown.
Travel restrictions have also been eased, allowing trips to other parts of the UK for non-essential reasons.
Driving lessons and tests can resume, while nail salons, museums and holiday accommodation can also reopen.
Ministers say restrictions can be eased as the most vulnerable people have been offered their first vaccine dose.
However RNIB's director James Adams said: "With lockdown restrictions easing further today, we're all looking forward to getting outside to see loved ones and enjoy the warmer weather.
"But we are hearing from many blind and partially sighted people who have lost confidence in going outside after a year of covid restrictions and are anxious about public spaces becoming busier and more cluttered with café and bar tables and chairs.
"Social distancing often relies on being able to see things such as signs, queuing systems or barriers. When you can’t see these changes, they can create new obstacles to navigate and further erode confidence.
"So we’re asking the public to be aware of the challenges people with sight loss might face, and help them to safely social distance as the restrictions change. We’re also reminding local authorities and businesses that the measures in place to protect us must be inclusive to everyone, not just to those who can see them.
"This is the 'new normal' we should aim to return to in Scotland."