On Friday, July 23, 2010, the final regulations revising the Department’s ADA regulations has been signed. Those regulations went into effect on March 15, 2012. The changes that have been made to the ADA regulations includes its ADA Standards for Accessible Design. This includes all buildings that have been made in the past to make changes that meet the ADA requirements. This also means that any new buildings being built have to have the ADA requirements intact.
Lodging facilities such as hotels need to stay updated on the ADA requirements for people with disabilities. The ADA has made it so that any lodging facility that was built after January 26, 1993, must be made accessible. This does not necessarily mean that hotels need to only be accessible for people who use wheelchairs, but they have to be accessible for anyone with any kind of disability.
The basic hotel requirements in the updated ADA requirements include making sure the entrance, parking lot, lobby, service counters, bar or restaurants, and public bathrooms become accessible to disabled customers. Throughout the rest of this article, we will discuss the basic ADA requirements for hotels.
Hotel Parking & Entrances
Just like other public places throughout the United States, hotels must have handicap accessible parking spots that are big enough to fit handicap vans and have enough room to be able to open its doors. The hotel must have all of their entryways accessible including sidewalks and side entrances.
Hotel Staff & Training
Hotel employees must be knowledgeable about the accessible rooms. Customer service staff must be trained to know about possible injuries and how to respond to the alarms from them, they must also be trained on general ADA regulations, accessibility features available for guests, hotel policies for service animals, and how to talk to customers with disabilities respectfully and effectively. Hotel staff must be trained to know alternative ways to converse with guests who are hard of hearing.
Hotel Room Information & Room Features
People with disabilities should be able to book a room the same way as everyone else. Hotels should be able to provide enough information for customers about the accessible features for each room including pictures and descriptions when searching online. If the hotel says that the room has a feature online or over the phone, then that guest room has to have it. Accessible hotel rooms have to remain unavailable until all of the other guest rooms have been filled up.
Each hotel room for handicapped customers must have the same things as the other guest rooms and the same access to all amenities. The hotel beds have to have a height between 20 to 23 inches from the floor to the top of the mattress in accessible guest rooms. There needs to be at least one accessible window in the accessible hotel room. Accessible hotel rooms must now have multiple outlets and cords.
Hotel bathrooms need to have a door that swings outward. Hotels have to have portable shower seats and make sure they are safe and provide various features, including where the seat is attached, the height of seat surface, and the correct type of wall for the shower seat to be placed on. Hotels are required to provide more flexible versions of transfer-type and roll-in showers. Transfer-type showers must be 36 x 36 inches and have to be able to reach a maximum curb of two inches. Alternate roll in showers have to be at least 36 x 60 and the shower controls need to be located adjacent to the seat on the longer side.
Hotel Door Handles, Hardware, & Electronics
For the doors of the hotel, the ADA Standards require doors with 32 inches of clear passage width. Also, hotels are required to have ramps and curb cuts leading to those doors for the people who use wheelchairs or other transportation equipment.
The new 2010 Standards require door handles, hardware, and electronic controls that are easy to move so that people with limited use of their arms and hands can function properly. This includes any electronic controls within the room like the thermostat, faucet handles, and light switches.
For the guests who are deaf and hard of hearing, hotels are required to have visual fire alarms and to have rooms that are equipped for persons who have hearing disabilities.
Hotel Pools & Other Amenities
The 2010 standards require new constructed or altered pools to be accessible. The pool has to have two places to exit and enter. Hotel pools are also required to have a pool lift which also includes specific requirements such as location, seat size, lifting capacity, and floor space.
If there are multiple saunas or spas, at least 5% of each has to be accessible. For the saunas, there must be enough room for one to turn around, meaning that the doors cannot swing open over clear floor space. There also has to be an acceptable bench inside of the sauna.
For the exercise rooms, at least one of each type of sitting exercise machines and equipment must be within an accessible route that is 36 inches wide and have 30 x 48 inches of clear floor space so that the person with a disability can use the equipment.
All of the changes that have been made throughout the world for people with disabilities have been because of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Disability Rights Movement, and the new 2010 Standards. Every step taken to make people with disabilities have more accessibility in their everyday lives is a step forward that everyone should take.