In mid-March, human service agencies were among the many facilities that New York required to close their doors to prevent people from gathering and thereby stem the spread of the coronavirus. While they have continued to serve people with disabilities by phone, email and the internet, now that the state has entered phase four, the Buffalo offices of Western New York Independent Living have reopened on a limited basis, observing strict rules for everyone’s safety:
Consumers wishing to meet face-to-face with a service provider must first make an appointment, and complete a screening questionnaire over the phone, the day before the appointment. If they do not have face coverings to bring with them, inform the staff at this time, so one can be obtained (if available), or the appointment can be rescheduled for a date when they can bring one. If the staff member cannot be reached by phone, they should not come in, to avoid an unnecessary trip.
Upon arrival, if the answers to four short screening questions are acceptable, they are to use hand sanitizer or wash with soap and water and take a seat in the waiting area until a staff member escorts them to a private, sanitized meeting room. If the answers are not acceptable, they will be asked to reschedule and contact their medical provider.
Consumers are asked to maintain a 6-foot social distance, and refrain from hugging, shaking hands, fist bumping or other physical contact.
On departure, consumers should, again, use hand sanitizer or wash with soap and water.
If a staff member fails to follow these protocols, consumers can alert the human resources department or the staff person’s supervisor.
Those needing a services provider’s phone number can call 716-836-0822, and dial “9” to access the dial-by-name directory, or call the receptionist at 716-836-0822, ext. 100, during business hours (8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.).
The Western New York Independent Living Inc. family of agencies offers an expanding array of services to aid individuals with disabilities to take control of their own lives.