The new social distancing rules require shopping malls, stores, restaurants, and schools to provide safe spaces for visitors. But some visitors risk being left behind. While putting into place signage and arrows to ensure social distancing in your establishment, special considerations for persons with disabilities should not be forgotten.
The following are three ways to improve social distancing for all visitors by using ADA signage adapted for social distancing.
Display Larger and More Prominent ADA Signage
Parking lots and building corridors have become mazes of signage and arrows directing visitors on where to walk and stand. For persons with disabilities and their personal care attendants, routine steps like finding disabled designated parking or restrooms has suddenly become more confusing.
You can help disabled visitors to your premises more easily navigate the social distanced world by adapting signage to the new environment. Ways to make signage standout include:
- Displaying larger signs and type fonts
- Including large symbols for the handicapped
- Using the designated blue (Pantone Blue 294) for the handicap so they can easily distinguish the signage
Make it Easy to Follow ADA Signage
When adding arrows and other signage to direct the flow of traffic and designate where to stand, also use the standard handicap symbol and blue on all arrows. This small design gesture will be a big help for those navigating the many visual cues now displayed on walls and floors.
Six feet, 12, or more? Most individuals have adapted their social habits to maintain the prescribed six feet from others. Handicapped persons require more space to accommodate wheel chairs, and other equipment. Keep in mind they may not be able to easily distance themselves from someone coughing or sneezing close by. When you are placing ADA signage, a distance of at least 12 feet will better accommodate those with special needs.
Ensure Guides Are Trained in ADA Safety
Once your new ADA signage is in place, provide all security, guides, and other building personnel working with the public with updated training on helping those with disabilities while social distancing. This training should include:
- a guided tour of the new ADA signage for the disabled so staff have themselves navigated these pathways. When a person requires assistance, they will be able to provide precise instructions.
- guidelines on how to interact with persons with mobility aids (e.g., wheelchairs, walkers, canes), carers, and animals.
- training on how to interact with persons using assistive devices. These devices include iPads for special needs, screen readers, and other speech aids.
When ADA signage makes it easy for individuals with disabilities to access your facilities, and goods and services, they are more likely to become satisfied repeat customers.