Frequently Asked Questions
What makes a food venue wheelchair/mobility accessible?
A food venue is accessible when all doorways/entryways/passageways are wide enough to pass a wheelchair/mobility assistive device through without any obstruction. Bathrooms are accessible when they have wide doorways, spacious interiors (so that a wheelchair can turn comfortably and easily), lower sinks with long faucet control handles, and grab bars around the toilet to help people use it. If a venue has stairs, that limits the accessibility to people who have issues with mobility whether they use an assistive device or not.
For further valuable information specifically about restaurant/food venue accessibility, please visit: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/ada-guidelines-restaurants-23341.html
How can food venue staff be more welcoming and considerate of people with disabilities?
This blog entry by Tiffiny Carlson says it much better than I could, and it pertains to all interactions with people with disabilities, not just to food venues:
Why are some food venues not accessible, and what does the law say about this?
According to http://www.cga.ct.gov/2006/rpt/2006-R-0335.htm the following rules apply in the following instances:
ADA requires that restaurants and other places of public accommodation constructed for first occupancy after January 26, 1993 be designed and built to be readily accessible to people with disabilities, unless it is “structurally impracticable” to do so (42 USC § 12183(a)(1)). “Readily accessible” means that a reasonable number of elements, such as parking spaces and bathrooms, are handicapped accessible.
ADA requires owners of restaurants and other public accommodations that predate the 1993 cutoff date to remove barriers where readily achievable (e.g., eliminate turnstiles, widen doors, and install ramps). When not readily achievable, they must provide an alternative method of making their goods and services available to people with disabilities. “Readily achievable” means “easily accomplishable and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense” (42 USC § 12181(8)). Readily achievable modifications include lowering telephones and installing grab bars where only routine wall reinforcement is required.
ADA also requires existing public accommodations to (1) make reasonable modifications to their policies, practices, and procedures to make their goods or services available to people with disabilities if modification would not fundamentally alter the goods or services and (2) provide auxiliary aids for people with disabilities if doing so would not alter the nature of the goods or services or impose an undue burden on the establishments.
If alterations are made to an existing restaurant or other public accommodation after January 26, 1992, the altered portion of the facility must be handicapped accessible to the maximum extent feasible (42 USC § 12183(a)(2)). DOJ has indicated that it will construe this provision to apply to alterations that require a state, county, or local government permit. According to DOJ’s regulations, “alterations” include remodeling, renovation, and changes in structural parts or configuration of walls but exclude normal maintenance, painting, or asbestos removal. “To the maximum extent feasible” means that features being altered must be made handicapped accessible unless it is not technically feasible.
When a proposed alteration to an existing restaurant or other public accommodation could affect the usability of, or access to, an area containing a primary function, the path of travel to the altered area and to the bathrooms, telephones and drinking fountains serving that area must be made accessible, unless the cost of the path-of-travel alterations are disproportionate to the cost and scope of the overall alterations (42 USC § 12183(a)(2)). The cost is disproportionate if it exceeds 20 percent of the cost of the underlying alteration (28 CFR § 36.403(f)). In this case, the path of travel must be made handicapped accessible without going over the 20 percent, giving priority to those elements that provide the greatest access.
ADA does not require alterations; but it requires alterations that affect usability to be made in a manner that provides handicapped access.
Properties on or eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, or properties designated as historic under state or local law are subject to less stringent requirements if full compliance with ADA would threaten their historical significance.
Are you trying to “play gotcha” with food venues when they are not accessible?
No, not at all. I am trying to celebrate those food venues that are accessible, and encourage those that are not to become more accessible. I am trying to provide a central resource for fellow people with disabilities to find information about food venues that I have visited. As the US population ages, there is a growing number of customers who will require this information as they make decisions about where to spend their money on food
Will you feature accessibility information for people with disabilities that do not have to do with motion, such as people who are blind or deaf?
I do plan to include this information in the future, but I would like input from people with other types of disabilities. Please let me know what are the features you need that will make a food venue accessible to you. Leave a comment with this information, and I will include those items in future posts.
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