To our Blind and Low Vision community

As the world grapples with the fast-moving covid-19 virus, the impacts for many countries, businesses and most importantly people, are significant and unprecedented.

Our role is to support people who are living life with blindness and low vision and helping them achieve the things they want and need to do. I am writing to let you know that through this public health crisis, we will continue to be here and to serve in the best ways we can.

Your health and safety is of great importance to us, as is that of our employees, volunteers and everyone else in our communities. Navigating our way through this time successfully relies on compassion, understanding and vigilance for the safety of those around us as well as ourselves.

With this in mind, I wanted to reassure you of some of the measures we are putting in place to keep you safe, and to continue being here for you under changeable circumstances. Please note:

  • Health and Safety – Rest assured our team is taking precautionary measures to keep you and themselves safe. This may mean appointment times or methods could be subject to change as circumstances change, and we appreciate your understanding during this time.
  • Contingency planning to continue service – we are preparing contingency plans for continuing service and working remotely should we need to.
  • Appointments, events and community activities – at this time, we are still running all services and activities as normal. We are fortunate that covid-19 cases remain isolated in New Zealand, but we will keep you updated if plans need to change.
  • Get in touch – We are here to help, and if you are unsure please ask. You can contact our National Contact Centre on 0800 24 33 33 or by emailing info@blindlowvision.org.nz

I also want to take this opportunity to reiterate some of the government’s official advice on keeping safe at this time:

Take some simple steps to help stop the spread of COVID-19:

  • Avoid close contact with people with cold or flu-like illnesses.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing.
  • Stay home if you’re unwell.
  • Wash hands for at least 20 seconds with water and soap and dry them thoroughly.

What to do if you may have been exposed:

If you have returned from a country or area of concern, you should self-isolate for 14 days from the date of departure.

Call Healthline:

  • for COVID-19 health advice and information.
  • to register if you have self-isolated yourself.

It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and has access to interpreters.

  • Freephone: 0800 358 5453 (NZ only).
  • Phone: +64 9 358 5453 (outside NZ).

To stay up to date with the latest information on covid-19, visit govt.nz.

Lastly, I would like to extend my gratitude to the many volunteers right around the country who are supporting us during our Red Puppy Appeal this weekend. My thanks goes to all of you kind and community-minded people.

Please take care, and stay safe.

John Mulka

Blind Low Vision NZ Chief Executive

Find a Māori translation of this information here