Friday, February 24, 2012

Hotels Aren't Happy With New ADA Pool Lift Requirements

One of the requirements of the Department of Justice's 2010 ADA Title III regulations was that newly constructed and altered facilities, beginning on March 15, 2012, comply with the Access Board's 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design.  Also beginning on March 15, 2012, barriers in existing facilities that violate new "supplemental" requirements in the 2010 standards -- requirements that had no analogue in the earlier ADA Accessibility Guidelines -- must be removed to the extent readily achievable.  One of the new supplemental requirements in the 2010 standards involves swimming pools at places of public accommodation.  With certain exceptions, the new standards generally require pools to have at least two accessible means of entry, and they impose certain technical requirements for pool lifts.  (I should note that I was the political appointee who supervised the process of promulgating these regulations when I was at DOJ.)

With the March 15 deadline for compliance impending, many hotel owners have expressed concern about the new requirements.  Here is a sampling of stories from various local media markets over the past few days.  Here is a letter the Department of Justice's Disability Rights Section sent on the issue earlier this week to the American Hotel and Lodging Association (which in my experience is generally a good actor on these issues, though certainly a vigorous advocate for its members' interests).

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