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25 March, 2020

COVID-19: Business Continuity Update

COVID 19 Update from Guide Dogs

Update 25.03.20:

An important safety message for all Guide Dog Handlers using  taxis and ride share services for travel

Some important changes have been made to normal procedures for Guide Dog Handlers using taxis and ride share services such as Uber to further minimise risk during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The most important change is that all Guide Dog Handlers are being asked to travel in the back seat of the vehicle on the recommendation of the Federal Government, the Taxi Industry, the Ride Share Services sector and Guide Dogs Australia. Guide dogs are now required to sit at the handler’s feet in the back footwell.

This change requires a different approach to entering a taxi or ride share service. Under normal circumstances, Guide Dog Handlers are trained to use the front seat but with new social distancing regulations in place this is no longer advised.

Guide Dog Handlers should ask taxi and ride share services’ drivers to move the front passenger’s seat as far forward as possible to provide room for the dog.

There is no change in advice on exiting the vehicle in that the Guide Dog Handler should exit the taxi/ride share service with their dog as per the normal procedure.

Below are the new recommended steps for Guide Dog Handlers entering and exiting taxis and ride share services:

  1. When approaching a taxi or ride share service vehicle, do as you would normally do by locating the front passenger door. Then, while facing the vehicle, move one metre to your right and locate the back passenger door.
  2. Ask the driver to move the front passenger seat as far forward as possible.
  3. Remove your Guide Dog’s harness so that it does not become caught under the front seat. This is also a more comfortable way for you and your guide dog to travel.
  4. Place your dog on a long lead and have your dog wait while you position yourself on the back seat.
  5. Ask your dog to sit at your feet in the back footwell.  Make sure the dog’s tail is inside the vehicle before closing the back door.
  6. When exiting the vehicle with your dog do so as per normal procedure.
  7. Re-harness your dog and proceed to your destination.

At all times it is essential to keep you and your dog at a safe distance from others to minimise the risk of coming into contact with potential COVID-19 carriers.

 

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Update 17.03.20:

Guide Dogs is closely following the recommendations of the relevant government authorities in relation to the containment of the COVID – 19 virus within the community.

We acknowledge that these are challenging times.

Be assured, the health and wellbeing of our Clients, workforce and dogs remains our priority.

We are activating our plan to ensure we have continuity of care to those most in need, in line with the restrictions currently in place.

If you need support immediately, please contact our Customer Service team on 02 9412 9300  or email chatswood [at] guidedogs.com.au (subject: COVID%2019%20Update)

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In the meantime, please ensure you stay informed on the latest advice from authorities.

Guide Dogs will continue to provide you with regular updates as the situation unfolds.