Coronavirus pandemic brings additional challenges to blind community

Local man explains challenges he’s facing during the pandemic

COVID-19 impact on blind community

SAN ANTONIO – The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is bringing challenges to members of the blind community in San Antonio.

Michael Guajardo is blind and is currently working from home.

“I have an eye condition called retinitis pigmentosa, and it’s left me completely blind at this point,” said Guajardo, who works for the San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind and Vision Impaired.

Guajardo, who relies heavily on his sense of touch, said he has been adjusting to the new way of life during the pandemic.

“Having the ability to figure things out tactically is, like, super important. So you can imagine if you’re having to go outside the household -- you wear gloves -- that is really difficult,” he said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says handwashing is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick and preventing the spread of germs to others. Guajardo said he constantly washes his hands and uses hand sanitizer.

“I really do have to rely on my sense of touch when I’m looking around for something on the table, or I’m grabbing something out of the kitchen cabinet,” Guajardo said.

Guajardo is taking it day by day and hopes things get back to normal soon.

“It really requires you to have a completely different mindset when you go out,” Guajardo said.

The president of the nonprofit where Guajardo works said 50 employees are working from home, 100 are staying home and not working and 350 are still working at the facility.

“We’ve hired two people full-time to do nothing but wipe down every doorknob, every door, every flat surface,” said Mike Gilliam, president and CEO of San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind and Vision Impaired.

About the Authors:

Tiffany Huertas is known for her in-depth storytelling and her involvement with the community.