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Impacts of COVID on Differently-Abled Communities

John Samuel

The visually impaired community has experienced some unexpected benefits and challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic. John Samuel, Co-Founder and CEO of ABLR, describes how the shift from in-person dining to take-out resulted in greater digitalization of menus, accessibility to new cuisines via app, and home delivery services. Stay-at-home orders helped normalize online dating, which gave people with a disability a greater chance at finding love. However, COVID-19 has also created new barriers for the blind and visually impaired community. Closure of roads and sidewalks for outdoor dining and streeteries isn’t always up-to-date on mobility apps, presenting a barrier to getting around once familiar surroundings.

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John Samuel

CEO & Cofounder

ABLR 360

John Samuel is Co-Founder and CEO of ABLR, a digital accessibility and inclusion company that was founded on the key principle that all digital content, including websites, videos and applications, are accessible to everyone, even those with a disability. John was a speaker at RHI’s 2020 Sociable City Summit in Seattle about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. He suggested that “Accessibility” be added as an additional principle that city leaders should strive to achieve.