Disability and Covid-19

The Covid-19 emergency hasn’t removed your rights under the Equality Act 2010 (nor under the Human Rights Act 1998). Are you having difficulty with the following:

– Access to online shopping at a supermarket?

– Access to online facilities generally, because they are inaccessible?

– Are you having to go out to charge an electricity or gas meter key, when you should be shielding inside because of your disability?

– If you do go out to shops, are you being told that your Personal Assistant/Care Assistant/Communication Assistant cannot go into the shop with you?

– Are there any other situations where your disability isn’t being taken into account where it should be, or where it is being used as a barrier to prevent you from getting a service?

You have rights under the Equality Act 2010 in all these situations (and if the organisation is a public authority or carrying out a public function, there may also be rights under the Human Rights Act ). Contact us using the enquiry form on our website or through SignVideo.

About the Author

Chris Fry

Chris is the founder of Fry Law.


  1. Diane Brisenden

    I usually shop online with Sainsbury or Waitrose & feel extremely angry & upset by their response to Coronavirus as I feel that they should have made more effort to contact their existing customers & collect more information from them about their circumstances before withdrawing their services. I am not on the government’s most vulnerable list but neuromuscular experts say that all people with my condition (spinal muscular atrophy) should be shielding. I tried registering as extremely vulnerable on the government’s website about two weeks ago but to date haven’t heard anything back from them. I am a wheelchair user & cannot shop alone so prefer to do internet shopping & have shopped with both Waitrose & Sainsbury over the last few years. I have an anytime delivery pass with Sainsbury which was renewed at the end of March. The last delivery slot that I managed to get through them was 28th March. I have not been able to get another slot with them since then. I have tried to contact them but I cannot get through by phone & there is no email address on their website which just refers me to FAQ & tells me I have not been identified as an elderly or vulnerable customer. I have also tried to get a slot with Waitrose but am either unable to sign in to their website, cannot get a slot or am reminded that I am not a vulnerable customer. I have emailed & spoken to them but the position remains the same. I have now registered with Tesco, Morrison’s & Asda & have managed to get supplies every couple of weeks by constantly checking their websites for available slots. I am lucky enough to have my partner come & stay with me for the duration of the lock down so if anymore supplies are needed he collects them from a small Waitrose branch nearby who are taking telephone orders but he has asthma & diabetes & we would prefer not to have to do this. Without him I would find it extremely difficult to safely access supplies & find this situation extremely distressing.

    1. Hi Diane,
      We’re hearing so many similar complaints. Have you registered to join the action? https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScv3-wk1m-yVIxc6SpOkkap6XPZOLX39bqWzDz9vDH4AQ7GpQ/viewform

      1. Diane Brisenden

        I have now!

  2. ejcowper

    Almost all news programmes and all the government daily meetings are subtitled.I am quite deaf and need to have the text on to follow the news.

    Whilst I understand that some people would like sign language, I suggest the issue is: how many people NEED it? Especially when the programme or repeat or summary will be signed.

    Whilst standing up for people’s rights is important – I am still practising and did that for some time before my present work – there must be some limit and some real downside to a lot of people to make it required.

    How many people are there who cannot read the subtitles for the daily briefings?

    How many of those can’t access the summaries or repeat of then later when signed?

    I would appreciate a response please. Many thanks

    1. Hi,
      We’re not sure we’ve seen any of the Live Briefings subtitled, but subtitles are not easy to follow for people born deaf for whom BSL English is their first language. Deaf people for whom English is a second language (I think there are 87,000) struggle to understand the captions and often can’t keep up. Everybody should be able to access information independently, especially in the current Covid-19 crisis where there are such life changing and threatening consequences.

  3. Suzanne Brown

    I am registered disabled, when I want to do my shopping I need someone with me at all times so my husband /carer takes me more often than not we are told we cannot go in together

    1. Hi Suzanne,
      This is another policy that hasn’t been thought through. Have you complained? If you would like to join the group of people taking legal action against the Supermarkets, please click this link https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScv3-wk1m-yVIxc6SpOkkap6XPZOLX39bqWzDz9vDH4AQ7GpQ/viewform

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