Support for Clients adapting to new COVID-19 regulations

March 26, 2020

We want to ensure Clients receive the best possible support and care during these unprecedented changes to our normal way of life.
Guide Dogs is continuing to provide services to Clients, however face-to-face contact has been suspended temporarily.

New servicing arrangements

Tele-practice services:

Guide Dogs has been progressively moving to introduce more tele-practice services to support Clients using assistive technology and for Client connection. This has been fast-tracked due to the current environment.

Telephone support:

Telephone contact is being made with as many Clients as possible to assess their needs and requirements.

Clients can contact their Guide Dog staff member in their local area, or phone 1800 804 805 if urgent assistance is required.

Assistance with online grocery shopping:

We have had feedback that some Clients may be experiencing difficulties obtaining food and grocery items.

NDIS funded clients can now access a priority home delivery service for grocery items following an agreement between the NDIA and the major supermarket retailers. Visit the Priority Home Delivery Service page on the NDIS webpage.

Woolworths and Coles have also established priority online shopping for people with a disability who are eligible. Go to Woolworths Online Priority Shopping or Coles Online Priority Shopping.

Travel in taxis and ride share services with Guide Dogs:

Guide Dog Handlers are being asked to sit in the backseat of their ride to meet social distancing requirements. For more information head here.

Other relevant supports

Shopping and Groceries

Both Coles and Woolworths supermarkets have assistance available for the elderly, people in self isolation and those with a disability.


Priority home delivery service. You need to register for this service by completing the online form here or by calling 1800 000 610.

In-store dedicated shopping hour for the elderly and people with a disability every weekday between 7AM and 8AM. This applies to all stores.


Coles are yet to release their online priority delivery service for those who are vulnerable, in isolation or who have a disability. It is anticipated to be available via the Coles online website at the end of this week (27/03/2020).

Phone: 1800 455 400

The Coles community hour is a dedicated shopping hour available for the elderly and people with a disability on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 7AM and 8AM. This hour is available in all Coles stores.

Sighted Assistance


If you own an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, you can easily use FaceTime to make free video calls to trusted family or friends.

If they are already in your contacts, just ask Siri to FaceTime the person. For example, “FaceTime John Smith.” Then, you will have a high quality audio and video connection. Point the camera on the back of your device to whatever you want them to see. If you are a VoiceOver user, you can end the call with the familiar two finger double tap.

Please note that the other person must also have one of these Apple devices. FaceTime does use your mobile data if you are not connected to Wi-Fi.

Give this a try for a great, free way to gain some sighted assistance from someone you know and trust.

Be My Eyes

Be My Eyes is a completely free service which connects people with blindness or low vision to sighted assistance via the Be My Eyes smartphone app. The service is available 24 hours a day.

Search for ‘Be My Eyes’ in the app store or Google Play store and download it. Register as a blind or vision impaired person and create your account using an email address. After registering you can use the app to make a video call using your smartphone camera. The call will be answered by a randomly selected volunteer sighted assistant. They will see what is around you via the back-facing smartphone

camera and you can have a two-way audio conversation to get assistance. Be My Eyes volunteers can assist with tasks around the home and while out for example, reading product packaging, identifying colours, sorting clothing, operating electrical appliances and more.

Sighted assistants are volunteers so it is important to be mindful of the tasks you choose to use Be My Eyes for, and the locations in which you use it.


Aira is a paid subscription based service providing access to trained sighted assistance. Aira can be used for tasks around the home and for support to access inaccessible software, graphs, images etc. while working or studying from home. The first 5 minutes of every Aira call is free. Aira is also offering free services to any college student for the remainder of the semester (Ending May 2020). Support to use inaccessible software, graphs and images can be provided. Visit to Aira website or download the Aira app from the app store or Google Play store.

Well-being and mental health

Life Line

Lifeline is a national charity providing all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.

Phone: 13 11 14

Blind Alive: Free Accessible Fitness (Eyes Free)

Blind Alive provides a complete set of fitness audio exercise programs. All programs are completely free for downloading. Visit their website at

Macular disease

The Macular Disease Foundation Australia is a patient-focused organisation providing support and services across all macular diseases, including diabetic eye disease. The national helpline is 1800 111 709.

MAFD is providing a Macular Disease Community Tele Outreach Program, targeting patients who are on anti-VEGF treatment – for neovascular AMD and DME.

MAFD has ceased delivery of education forums in aged care facilities but until further notice. These are being replaced with webinar consumer education sessions.


Federal Government support of businesses and households

Below are the links to new measures the Federal Government has introduced to support business and households during the COVID-19 pandemic. support line:
13 28 46

Small or medium business with reduced cash flow?
Here’s what the government is doing to boost your cash flow.  

Is your business financially distressed?
This is what the government is doing to support you

Assisting the economic recovery
Here’s how the government will support you to grow.

Employ an apprentice or trainee?
This support is for you.

Are you a sole trader that has lost business?
This is what the government is doing to support you and your business

Household finances hit by reduced work?
Here’s what the government is doing to help support your family budget.
Payments to support households.

For more information on Coronavirus and the Government’s response, please visit: or


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