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Your Questions Answered

Are you confused and worried about the coronavirus pandemic? We have put together the following information, which we think you will find useful coronavirus pandemic and new covid vaccination.

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Our Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic

Woman answering telephone

The following information on this page and associated pages are to help answer any questions you may have about the coronavirus pandemic.

Please do get in touch if you would like any further information or help. 

We appreciate this information does not replace seeing us face to face; if you need someone to talk to, you can call our Time to Talk team on Freephone 0300 303 3691 or SMS 07856 426 940 or contact our friendly HUB team Tel: 01392 459 222 info@livingoptions.org. We are also available on webchat via our Facebook page.

(This page was last updated 08.09.2021)

1.) I am confused about what I can and cannot do?

Different restrictions apply to the different home nations of the UK. Restrictions in England have been lifted. It’s your personal decision on close contacts, such as hugging, with friends and family.  We’re still being asked to wear face masks in public indoor spaces and where possible to maintain a 2-meter distance from others.

People have been advised they can stop shielding. More information on what you can and can’t do during the lockdown can be found here.

You can read the roadmap to restrictions lifting here.

Latest update from the government in BSL

The four-part plan for easing Covid 19 restrictions in BSL

The four part road map for easing Covid-19 restrictions

2.) What should I remember when I leave my home

Remember – ‘Hands. Face. Space.’

  • Hands – wash your hands regularly and for at least 20 seconds.
  • Face – wear a face-covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and here you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet
  • Space – stay 2 meters apart from people you do not live with


In all circumstances, you should follow the guidance on meeting others safely.

hands face space poster image of hands washing, face mask and 2m distance from people

4.) Do I have to wear a face covering?

Wearing a face covering is now your choice, although many indoor settings, such as shops, and public transport still ask you to wear one.

You are exempt from wearing a face covering if you have an age, health or disability reason:

  • you do not routinely need to show any written evidence of this
  • you do not need to show an exemption card
  • This means that you do not need to seek advice or request a letter from a medical professional about your reason for not wearing a face covering.
  • However, some people may feel more comfortable showing something that says they do not have to wear a face covering. This could be in the form of an exemption card, badge or even a home-made sign.

If you wish to use an exemption card or badge, you can download exemption card templates. You can then print these yourself or show them on a mobile device. Please note that the government will not provide exemption cards or badges. Please do not contact your GP / Healthcare Practioner for an exemption certificate, use the download template above or make your own sign. You can also order ‘Hidden Disability’ Sunflower Lanyard products here

5.) Where is the information and updates on the coronavirus in BSL?

Charity ‘SignHealth’ provides daily updated information on the Coronavirus on their Facebook and YouTube channel. BSL users can contact Devon County Council using the InterpretersLive service

We provide additional support for the Deaf community on our website Your Deaf Community You contact Justine in our Deaf Led Services team and Mark from our Deaf Get Active team both use British Sign Language.

6.) Can I get the information in an alternative format, such as an easy read guide or in large print?

Easy Read guides can be found on the Learning Disability Devon website. If you need information in another language or format please contact customer@devon.gov.uk, phone 0345 155 1015 or SMS text ‘Devon’ then your message to 80011. 

Somerset County Council coronavirus helpline 0300 790 6275, or if you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech-impaired you can contact them using SMS text: 07781 482858. 

Cornwall County Council email DIAL Cornwall for advice for disabled people, carers and families or call  01736 759500.

Dorset Council call 01305 221000 for help and advice or email us communityresponse@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk.

7.) There are so much information and news updates about the coronavirus, I don’t know which one to read?

For up to date, factual information, visit GOV.UK or the NHS website.  For local facts on the coronavirus we suggest reading the information on your local council website: Devon County CouncilCornwall CouncilSomerset County Council and Dorset Council .  You could also use the GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp. This automated chatbot covers the most common questions about coronavirus.  Citizens Advice are also a good source of practical support and information.

8.) When will I get the covid vaccination?

The NHS is currently offering the COVID-19 vaccine to people. The vaccine is being offered in some hospitals and pharmacies, at hundreds of local vaccination centres run by GPs and at larger vaccination centres.

Book now if you’re eligible
You do not need to wait to be contacted if any of the following apply:

Book your coronavirus vaccination appointments online

‘Booster’ Vaccination Programme Launch

Ministers have accepted expert advice which will see people with severely weakened immune systems offered a third jab before a wider ‘booster’ vaccination programme is launched. 

Health Secretary Sajid Javid emphasised that the third shot recommended by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is intended to ensure that people with weak immune systems have the same level of immune response as most people generate from two jabs. 

He said it was based on trial data around immunosuppressed people and is not part of the proposed booster programme which will cover many more people. 

“The NHS will contact people as soon as possible to discuss their needs and arrange an appointment for a third dose where clinically appropriate,” he said. 

Mr Javid said that ministers and officials are continuing to develop plans for the booster programme to begin this month “to ensure the protection people have built up from vaccines is maintained over time and ahead of the winter. We will prioritise those most at risk to COVID-19, including those who are eligible for a third primary vaccine, for boosters based on the final advice of the JCVI.” 

Information about the Coronavirus vaccine in BSL

9.) I’m worried about having the covid-19 vaccination?

NHS England and NHS Improvement have launched a series of animations aimed at tackling confusion and worry about the COVID-19 vaccine. These animations are available in 17 different languages. The videos (audio and subtitled) cover key topics including vaccine safety, how it was tested, how it was developed so quickly, what is in it, and what the side effects are.

You can view these videos with the transcript HERE. For correct and accurate information on the coronavirus, and the covid-19 vaccine visit www.nhs.uk/coronavirus.

9.) Does the coronavirus make you feel anxious, isolated, and at times lonely?

Please call us if you feel anxious, isolated or would just like to hear someone’s voice or make contact with someone, our Time to Talk team is available on Freephone 0300 303 3691 or SMS 07856 426 940.  Alternatively, you can contact our friendly HUB team on 01392 459 222 or email info@livingoptions.org

We also offer lots of useful links to help and support on our dedicated Your Wellbeing webpage and have a new counselling service offering you 6 free sessions with a trained counsellor (BSL counsellor available). Counselling is a talking therapy which can help you understand and manage complicated feelings and emotions.

10) How can I stay active and positive?

Physically: Our Deaf Get Active team is sharing a range of activities you can do at home, you do not have to be Deaf or a wheelchair user to enjoy and take part in these activities.  To access these visit the Deaf Get Active facebook page.

Mentally: We are always sharing interesting, uplifting and topical information for open discussion and comment on our Devon Disability Network Facebook page, why not visit the page, give us a like and read up on our latest posts, which range from day to day issues, raising awareness and remaining positive during isolation. We’d love to hear from you!

Yellow circle with the sun at the bottom. Text reads Run Walk or Roll Do it Your Way
Yellow circle with the sun at the bottom. Text reads Run Walk or Roll Do it Your Way

Run, Walk or Roll – Do it your way

We’ve launched an accessible nine week program to support you in getting active and keeping active. Whether you walk, run or roll, do it your way. Couch to 5k or Strive for 5, we’ll guide you to a healthier more active you. Find out more here

11.) Are you struggling to use technology to keep in touch with family and friends online?

Our friends at AbilityNet help people of any age and with any disability to use technology to achieve their goals at home, at work and in education, why not get in touch with them, call 0800 269 545 or email enquiries@abilitynet.org.uk

12.) I’ve heard that scam, crime and violence might be on the increase due to the coronavirus?

The outbreak of the coronavirus has seen an increase in scams and doorstep traders who are trying to exploit fear and uncertainty.  They often target elderly and vulnerable people and usually imitate Benefit or Government emails.  Please keep safe, always ask for a persons ID if you are unsure and don’t open links and attachments from unknown emails. 

Isolation may increase domestic abuse, violence, and crime, please be assured there is help available, our Victim Support team work closely with Victim Care Devon and Cornwall to provide victim support services to disabled and Deaf communities across Devon.  We offer support for both reported and non-reported crimes, helping the victim to overcome the affects caused by a crime. Our volunteers are trained to give emotional support, information, practical help (including in British Sign Language) to people that have been affected by a crime. This is a free and confidential service call us on 01392 459222 or SMS text 07734 768910 or email info@livingoptions.org​

There are several different ways to contact the police depending on the support you need. Remeber in an emergency always call 999. To find our more about their support services during the pandemic visit the Devon and Cornwall Police website.

A leaflet from Devon and Cornwall Police on how to contact them through the pandemic.  Remember in an emergency always call 999