We have decided that we will not run our annual Autism Hour campaign in October due to the situation created by the coronavirus pandemic. Shops are having to adapt their stores and introduce new social distancing measures to protect their customers, and we want to shift our focus to making sure these changes work for autistic people and their families.

Over the past three years the Autism Hour campaign has encouraged businesses to take their first steps towards becoming autism-friendly by encouraging them to host Quiet Hours and train their staff about autism. Last year, over 4,000 businesses participated, with big brands such as Tesco, CEX and The Entertainer taking part.

We’re still committed to campaigning for public spaces to become more accessible for autistic people. We recently campaigned for supermarkets to support their disabled customers by making sure their stores remain accessible during lockdown. We also pushed the Government to clarify their position on face coverings, so that autistic people who find wearing them distressing will be exempt.

Although we won’t be launching our usual Autism Hour campaign in October, we will be making resources available to stores that still want to host a Quiet Hour or learn how to be autism-friendly while maintaining social distancing measures. You can help us create these resources by telling us about your experience of social distancing in shops and what support would be helpful to you.

Finally, and most importantly, a huge thank you to all of the volunteers, campaigners and businesses who made Autism Hour such a success in the past. We will use this time off to review the Autism Hour campaign and plan how we can keep campaigning for a society that works for autistic people.

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