Working with the Department of Justice, President Obama announced two final rules that will amend Americans with Disabilities Act regulations that relate to Title II and Title III of the law. The changes will improve access to programs and services for people with disabilities, such as at baseball games and public swimming pools.
Under the rule, recreational facilities, including swimming pools, playgrounds, golf courses, amusement rides, recreational boating facilities, exercise machines and equipment, miniature golf courses and fishing piers will have to adopt accessible design standards. Buildings that already comply with the 1991 ADA standards for accessible design would not be required to be brought into compliance with the new rules until the facility undergoes a planned alteration.
Additionally, wheelchairs and scooters must be permitted in all areas open to pedestrian use.
The department also has added provisions that provide guidance on the sale of tickets for accessible seating at stadiums and theaters. This includes the sale of season tickets, the secondary ticket market, the hold and release of accessible seating to persons other than those who need accessible seating, ticket pricing, prevention of the fraudulent purchase of accessible seating and the ability to purchase multiple tickets when buying accessible seating.
The Justice Department also refined its definition of service animals that are allowed to accompany a disabled person in public places. The DOJ says a service animal is a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for benefit of an individual with a disability. Some in the disability community are disappointed that other animals, such as miniature horses, cannot be named as service animals.
For vacation goers, the department added protections that mandate timeshare and condominium properties that operate like hotels be subject to Title III of the ADA. All places of lodging must allow people with disabilities to make reservations for accessible guest rooms during the same hours and in the same manner as other guests.
The department also published four new ADA proposals addressing the accessibility of websites, the provision of captioning and video description in movies shown in theaters, accessible equipment and furniture, and the ability of 9-1-1 centers to take text and video calls from individuals with disabilities.