Douglas Yingling, Executive Director of the Center for Vision Loss, has issued an update about the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.
The statement is shown below in its entirety:
“We are grateful for your encouragement during this COVID-19 virus emergency. The following is an update about decisions we have made and what is to come.
“First, we have cancelled in-person services for people with vision loss – except for essential transportation – through April 12. This cancellation includes group activities, home visits by caseworkers, vision rehabilitation therapies, and appointments in our low vision care centers. We also have cancelled all vision screenings and community education programs through March 27. As these dates approach, we will evaluate the situation and take the appropriate steps.
“While we continue our transportation services for essential medical appointments, we have halted the practice of drivers staying with clients in waiting rooms temporarily. We also cannot provide transportation for COVID-19 testing and will decline rides to people who are ill. We will continue to provide transportation for necessary trips to pharmacies and banks, but we will use the drive-thru windows of these businesses.
“Our transportation service for grocery shopping continues, but trips will be made to the grocery store closest to a client’s home, regardless of the client’s typical preferences. We have added an option for clients to provide our drivers with lists and have their groceries delivered to them. A variety of payment options are available.
“We are working to set up counseling and support group sessions by phone or web conferencing, and we hope to have details about them soon. Meanwhile, all of our caseworkers are contacting clients by phone to keep them apprised of the situation and to provide comfort and someone who can listen.
“Lastly, we know that many of you care deeply for members of our team. As you may know, many of our employees are part-time and paid hourly. We have committed to paying them at their present levels through March 31. We also have offered all employees 10 days of special COVID-19 leave time with pay if they meet certain guidelines – such as confirmed or potential exposure to the virus, quarantine, or a compromised immune system. We thank the Executive Committee of our Board of Directors for its quick approval of this initiative. We also thank our employees for their dedication and patience.
“As is the case for every American business, our circumstances remain fluid and will continue to be so in this emergency situation. We pledge to continue doing everything in our power to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of our clients, our staff members, and our volunteers. We also will continue to keep you informed as decisions are made.
“Thank you very much for your steadfast support.”