Michael Fabricant says: "It’s a fact that too many restaurant owners
still don’t know that it is legal for guide dogs to be admitted with
their blind or partially sighted owners.
"A recent survey showed more than half of guide dog owners have been
turned away by a service provider such as a restaurant, pub, , hotel,
shop or bank in the last five years in Britain. This is partly because
managers think that it might be illegal to let them in and partly
because they think it might upset other customers. But guide dogs are
incredibly well behaved – it’s part of their intensive training. And
I cannot believe that any other customers would object to them."
Michael has added his support to Theresa May MP’s parliamentary motion,
encouraging local businesses not only to welcome guide dog owners
through the door, but to make their services fully accessible for blind
and partially sighted people.
So, ensuring that even the corridors of power are accessible, the MP
welcomed guide dogs, with their owners, through the door of the House of
Guide Dogs’ director of policy Tom Pey explains: "It is not only
inconvenient but also very embarrassing to be refused access to a
restaurant or pub because of your guide dog. We’re delighted that the
local MP is backing our campaign, so that in the future we can achieve
our vision of ensuring all guide dog owners receive first class customer
The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association has launched a pocket sized
reference guide, entitled ‘Opening Doors’, for everyone who works in the
service industry. It outlines the obligations of pubs, restaurants,
hotels, shops and banks, and gives practical advice and tips on how to
provide a quality service for visually impaired people and assistance
Free copies are available by phoning 0118 983 8379. A new microsite has
also been launched on Guide Dogs’ website, which can be found at:
Guide Dogs plans to reward good practice by presenting Opening Doors
certificates to service providers, nominated by blind and partially
sighted customers, who have been particularly pleased with the service
they have received. These will be presented to winning businesses in the
Michael Fabricant adds: "I urge local businesses to be guide dog and
owner friendly and to adopt the top 5 tips". These are:
customer to a table or to locate the items they plan to purchase.
you are handing over. When the customer is paying, tell them the cost
and give guidance, if necessary, on where the signature should be
and restaurants), letting the customer know this is available.
not cause any disruption to staff or customers in premises where food
and drinks are sold.
The results of the ‘Open Your Doors Survey is summarised below:
the last five years. Two in five guide dog owners (39%) have been turned
away by a restaurant.
visually impaired people at any time.
experience in one of the services.
legal obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act, which makes
it unlawful to treat disabled people less favourably than other people
for a reason related to their disability.
concerns about accepting guide dogs.
Michael Fabricant in the House of Commons with on the left
of the picture Iain McAndrew, with his guide dog Danny, and on the right
David Evans, with his guide dog Ruben.