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Pool Lift Deadline Looming - Are Hotel Pools Accessible to the Disabled?

Industry Lobbyists Insist Guidelines Have Been Unclear and in Some Cases Financially Onerous

By Lori Weisberg, The San Diego Union-Tribune
March 5, 2012


The Ocean Park Inn in Pacific Beach has a portable pool lift for the disabled, but new
federal regulations require a permanently attached device. — Peggy Peattie

It’s a warm day, you’ve just arrived at your hotel after a tiring flight, and you’re craving a relaxing dip in the pool. But you’re in a wheelchair.

These days, only some hotel chains have portable devices that can lower disabled people into the water. Even then, the equipment is not always readily available, nor are most staff members trained to operate the lifts. That, says the Department of Justice, just isn’t acceptable.

Come March 15, all hotels with pools and spas will be required to install fixed lifts that must be in place as long as the facilities are open to guests. The approaching deadline has the hotel industry in a quandary, as industry lobbyists press the federal government to give them more time to meet guidelines that they insist have been unclear and in some cases financially onerous.

The lifts themselves typically cost $3,000 and up, plus the cost of installation, which in some cases requires boring into pool decks and electrically grounding the devices. And for properties with multiple pools and hot tubs, a lift is needed for each one. Portable devices that can be moved around are not permitted unless they can be retrofitted so they are bolted to the pool deck.

The requirement is among a set of new regulations approved in 2010 under the Americans with Disabilities Act that affect most public places, such as banks, stores, movie theaters, state and local government entities, public swimming pools and hotels. Within the hospitality industry, the pool lift regulation has attracted the most attention.

To read the rest of the story please visit:
http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/feb/29/are-hotel-pools-accessible-disabled/


Contact:

Lori Weisberg, Staff Writer
San Diego Union-Tribune
350 Camino de la Reina
San Diego, CA  92102
619-293-2251
lori.weisberg@uniontrib.com


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