All official governmental as well as presidential announcements are interpreted in Lithuanian Sign Language. Generally, this situation has brought many changes that will be improving the accessibility for the deaf. The government is extremely responsive and supports all the requests from the Lithuanian Association of the Deaf, which remains very active, collaborates with the government and together finds the best possible solution. The sign language interpreter is standing next to the presenter, which is something that hasn't happened before.
Even the President of Lithuanian does not start presenting, until the sign language interpreter arrives. The Lithuanian Association of the Deaf is in good contact with the people from the President’s Office, who expressed their interest in hiring a sign language interpreter as a permanent staff in the team.
When the safety requirements were heightened the interpreters began to wear medical masks.The Lithuanian Association of the Deaf requested for transparent masks instead and the next day it was arranged. The Lithuanian Association of the Deaf is extremely content regarding this amount of collaboration.
The Lithuanian Association of the Deaf also managed to ensure that remote sign language interpreting services are available 24/7 via Skype during the quarantine period. This means that now, deaf people can call via the general number for Coronavirus 1808 and ask for help at any time.
Moreover, in Lithuania, mobile checkpoints for testing were established. However, they were inaccessible for the deaf because they did not allow getting out of the car. Therefore right now, this was updated and it was decided to install tablets to all cars which are mobile testing points, which will connect with sign language interpreters via Skype and communicate with deaf people through the car window so that the deaf can do everything as directed.
Lithuanian Association of the Deaf is actively cooperating and collaborating with Lithuanian Association of Sign Language Interpreters and Lithuanian Center for Sign Language Interpreting. They are very grateful for their contribution, because it wouldn’t have been possible to achieve all of this alone.