Weekly Poll – COVID-19 Stay at Home Guidance (Week Beginning 4 January 2021)

Each week Disability Equality Scotland send out a poll question to our members on a topical issue.  For the week beginning 4 January 2021, we asked a question about the latest stay at home guidance.

Results

Do you have concerns about the new lockdown measures that have been introduced in Mainland Scotland? 

  • YES – 61% (46 respondents)
  • NO – 39% (29 respondents)

Comments

We provide verbatim comments where appropriate to illustrate strength of feeling or personal experience.

Shielding

People in the shielding category are at the greatest risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19. It is important that people who are shielding continue to receive support to access food and essential supplies. The Scottish Government has updated the shielding guidance, which can be viewed on their website: https://www.mygov.scot/support-shielding/

Some respondents did not receive a letter to shield, despite being at high risk from COVID-19 due to their disability or health condition. It is vital that support is available to people who are not in the official shielding category, but still at high-risk from COVID-19.

“Many disabled people have been left off the shielding list despite the horrific effects COVID-19 would have, while also not being classed as vulnerable enough for the priority vaccinations leaving many of us still locked away until who knows when.”

“I’m struggling to get access to things as both consultant and GP agrees I should be shielding but I’m not on the list.”

“I’ve never received a letter to shield even though my diabetic consultant says I should have.”

Accessing Essential Supplies

Disabled people raised further concerns about accessing food and essential supplies.  Despite the advice to avoid using public transport, for some people there is no other option. It is important that information on how to access online deliveries is readily available for those who need it most. People in rural communities may not have access to online deliveries and alternative support must be in place.

“We are told not to use public transport. What about those who are unable to drive? They have to use public transport to access essential supplies.”

“I’m very scared on how i am going to handle my shopping and my everyday activity. I can’t wear a mask or a visor due to health and trauma related issues and I get lots of abuse.”

“There’s no details from stores about ordering and delivery slots online.”

“How can I rely on online supermarket deliveries if they don’t deliver where I live in remote rural Scotland? I cannot get assistance in a local store due to physical distancing measures and have lost over 3 stone in weight since the first lockdown.”

“Increased costs for heating/eating if stuck at home and no additional financial support from the Government for those on legacy benefits, unlike those on Universal Credit”

Health and Social Care

Disabled people raised concerns about changes to health and social care. This has resulted in uncertainty with regards to the continuation of care packages and delays to medical appointments.

“Social care support has stopped again, and I’m scared that while COVID-19 might not get me, I may not be able to get help with personal care”

“I am concerned about accessing health care, as there are a lot of do’s and don’ts about even talking to your GP. It has been extremely difficult to get an appointment with your GP since March, and you  practically have to beg them to see you to discuss things you are concerned about.”

“I’ve been waiting 3 years for surgery that was due to happen March last year, then December and now Spring. Disabled people barely being acknowledged and put at risk.”

Mental Wellbeing

Respondents are also concerned by the impact of the latest lockdown restrictions on mental health, social isolation and loneliness. It is vital that support is in place to ensure that people can access digital services, which can support people to remain connected with friends and family.

“Staying at home will adversely affect my mental wellbeing due to a lack of daylight and social isolation.”

“The latest lockdown is going to severely affect the mental health of a lot of people.”

“I’m very concerned about the impact on mental health, including my own, which is ordinarily quite robust. I feel anxious and stressed by it and pessimistic for the future.”

“I have concerns about isolation and chronic nature of its impacts across a range of human needs. Many have no access to broadband, Information Technology skills etc. It is much harder to maintain human contact without this sort of access. Many people affected by deafness/other communication barriers were struggling beforehand and their levels of anxiety are significantly at risk.”

Compliance

In order for the Stay at Home guidance to be effective, the public must adhere to the rules. Some respondents questioned how the rules will be enforced.

“I have concerns that people are not following the advice and how the authorities have the capacity to enforce the regulations.”

“It feels as though we are back to square one with this new lockdown. Much the same as the lockdown last March but will people abide by the rules?”

“I am concerned because I think a minority may not stick to the rules.”

“I am very frightened about people not following the rules and spreading the virus.”

“If everyone obeyed the rules, things would be so much better.”

A portion of respondents believed the lockdown restrictions must go further by stopping click and collect, closing takeaways and extending the lockdown measures to the islands that are currently in COVID protection level 3.

“I am concerned that the restrictions do not go far enough, especially in not limiting the amount of exercise and children under 11 not being restricted. It is also concerning that ‘click and collect’ is not being stopped.”

“They are not extensive or tough enough! There are too many loopholes and exemptions and people are monopolising it and breaking any and every rule and regulation. The Police are doing very little to stop or control this behaviour. Every area should be level 4 across the whole of Scotland with no exceptions.”

“They only apply to the mainland when they should apply to the whole of Scotland, islands included. There are many inconsistencies! The advice is not as rigid and restrictive as last March’s lockdown and leaves much room for misinterpretation and rule breakers manipulating the situation for their own selfish needs.”

“I don’t think they go far enough, there are too many people going to work in businesses that are not essential, eg. McDonalds. These companies were closed during the first lockdown, they should be this time too as they are encouraging people to make unnecessary journeys and not take the lockdown seriously.”

Conclusion

The majority of respondents understand the need for the introduction of the latest lockdown restrictions, due to the growing number of COVID-19 cases. People who are shielding and people at high-risk, but not in the official shielding category must receive support to access essential food and supplies. Disabled people are experiencing changes to care packages and delays to medical treatment. The latest measures are also affecting mental health and resulting in social isolation and loneliness. Support must be in place to ensure disabled people remain connected with family and friends. For the lockdown measures to be effective, the general public must adhere to the latest restrictions. Some respondents suggested that the restrictions must go further.

Disability Equality Scotland, January 2021