New ADA Rules Leave Some Scrambling
(Updated: March 15, 2012 at 5:01 PM CT)
As a new round of accessibility requirements take effect this week, some businesses are struggling to comply.
The new regulations are part of a 2010 update to the Americans with Disabilities Act. Businesses were given until this year to adhere to many of the added requirements.
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Starting Thursday, rules will be in place for the first time ever mandating that public swimming pools, parks, golf courses, exercise clubs and other recreational facilities be accessible. Hotel reservation systems also must meet new standards.
However, some businesses appear to be having difficulty meeting the requirements in time. USA Today reports that a number of hotels are considering closing their swimming pools and whirlpools because they don’t yet include lifts.
In response a hospitality industry trade group — the American Hotel & Lodging Association — asked the Justice Department to delay implementation of the new rules arguing that they are vague. And on Thursday the agency gave in saying they would hold off on enforcing the new requirements for existing swimming pools for 60 days — and possibly longer — to “address misunderstandings regarding compliance.”
In addition to the new regulations regarding recreational facilities, the ADA update also included changes to building requirements, new standards for wheelchairs and clarified what qualifies as a service animal. Many of these rules took effect last year.
The updates mark the first major overhaul of the ADA since it was enacted more than two decades ago.