Nottingham

Mansfield Woodhouse restaurant turns away blind man and guide dog

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Media captionNathan Edge and his guide dog Hudson were refused entry to a Chinese restaurant

A blind man has said he was "incredibly disappointed" to be turned away from a restaurant because his guide dog was deemed a "hygiene risk" by the manager.

Nathan Edge filmed the moment he, his girlfriend and dog, Hudson, were turned away from the Shangri-La, near Mansfield, on Saturday where they had planned to celebrate his birthday.

Eating establishments are legally required to let assistance dogs in.

The restaurant has since apologised and said it was due to a lack of space.

Image copyright Guide Dogs
Image caption Mr Edge has campaigned for better rights for people with assistance dogs

The video of them being refused entry has been viewed more than 50,000 times.

Mr Edge, 21, said most places he eats "go above and beyond" to make him feel welcome.

He said: "I was surprised and incredibly disappointed. All I wanted to do was have a nice night out with my girlfriend and have an equal choice.

"I wasn't asking for any special measures just to be treated equal, so it was very hurtful."

Guide dogs and the law

Under the Equality Act, service providers must make reasonable adjustments to make sure disabled people are not treated less favourably, including amending "no dogs" policies to allow guide dogs entry.

Guide dogs and assistance dogs are highly trained and hygienic, according to Kelly France from the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.

"Guide dogs are there to give people independence and mobility. To have someone say 'you can't come in here' is terrible."

Jason Liu, from the Shangri-La in Mansfield Woodhouse, said the incident was not about discrimination but "purely around adequate spacing and health and safety".

"I would like to apologise and understand this incident has greatly upset Mr Edge and his party," he said.

"I would like to make it very clear that we have no issues accepting guide dogs into our establishment, this is a proven fact as Mr Edge has dined with us previously."

Image copyright Google
Image caption Nathan Edge had visited the Shangri-La Chinese restaurant in Mansfield Woodhouse with his guide dog on a previous occasion

Mr Edge said he joined over 100 campaigners in Westminster last week to lobby MPs to do more for the rights of assistance dog owners.

"A matter of days later I was facing the same problems myself," he said.

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