The recent January 31st deadline of mandating public pools to become handicapped accessible is another step toward opening the world to all. But many don’t realize the loop hole that has been used since almost the inception of The American Disabilities Act(ADA).
While the Justice Department was clarifying the ruling that each public pool must have handicapped accessibility or face a fine of up to $55, 000, they also reiterated it only applies to pools that can be changed without significant hardship.
With our economy being as it is, how many of these public entities will say they can’t afford the changes without significant hardship?
Will they fight in court the meaning of what significant hardship is or will officials turn a blind eye?
A Personal Awakening
There are reasons I ask these questions. After having the experience of being in a wheelchair for 6 months, I clearly understood what handicapped accessibility was and how many companies were still non-compliant.
A doorway isn’t accessible if you have to get out of a wheelchair to lift the chair over the 2-3 inch step in order to get into the building. A heavy door that is almost impossible to open while trying to get yourself and your wheelchair inside, isn’t handicapped accessible.
Yet, these are everyday situations our physically-challenged population has to deal with.
The latest mandate is a good step in the right direction. Through personal experience, I’ve learned how important the need for accessibility really is and I cringe every time people say the ADA Act is a complete success. I bet they never were wheelchair-bound long enough to actually see what accessibility really means.
Help is Out There
Obviously with any regulation, there will be businesses who would rather take their chances being fined rather than complying with the law. For small business owners, financial help is offered with the ADA Tax Incentive Packet. For individuals who run across non-compliance, they may contact the ADA Information Services.