On March 15, 2012, the new regulations implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act applicable to all places of public accommodation, including stores, restaurants, hotels, and countless other public areas go into effect. The rules are aimed at increasing the accessibility of these places for persons with disabilities. Some of the major changes to the regulations will directly impact hotels, especially those providing amenities such as pools, spas, and golf courses. Importantly, because these standards were not in place when the previous regulations were issued, there is no “safe harbor” for previously existing facilities, and all public accommodations must comply by this date.
The Hit List:
Hotels have long been required to offer accessible rooms to persons with mobility impairments or other accessibility needs. Under the revised regulations, however, the reservations systems and recreational facilities offered by hotels must also be accessible to all users. While the new regulations impact many parts of a property, certain critical alterations must be complete by March 15, 2012:
The new design standards are extensive and specific. Beyond the standards described here, the new regulations impact many other areas, including accessible guest rooms, ATMs, and service animals. Failure to comply with the particular scoping requirements can lead to suits from private individuals who are unable to access the facility or an investigation from the government. If you have any questions about the new standards, or need assistance in auditing your property for compliance or removing barriers, the attorneys at Gardere are ready to help.