More than likely, your hotel already complies with aspects of the Americans with Disabilities Act. You may have ramps, ADA compliant rooms and other accommodations for your guests with disabilities. After all, these guests deserve the same opportunities to enjoy your hotel as anyone else does.
What about your hotel's pool? The Department of Justice updated the ADA to include the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design, which apply to wading pools, swimming pools and spa pools. The 2010 Standards outline the minimum requirements that your hotel's pool must meet in order to remain in compliance with the act. If your pool fails to comply, you open your hotel to the possibility of litigation.
Making your hotel's pool ADA compliant
An existing pool must still meet the 2010 Standards. Removing any barriers to disabled guests must be "reasonably achievable" for your business. This means that making the necessary changes does not involve too much expense or difficulty.
Under ideal circumstances, you can accomplish this by installing a fixed lift that guests can operate without assistance. If your hotel cannot undertake this installation, i.e. it's not reasonably achievable, you may use a portable lift that must remain available during the pool's hours of operation. In either case, the lift must meet the 2010 standards.
If you construct a pool or alter it in some way, it must meet the 2010 Standards by having a fixed lift. Only certain changes to your pool constitute alterations, so if you have an existing pool with a portable lift, you may want to check to see whether the DOJ would consider the work you want to do an alteration.
Keep your pool and its accessibility features maintained
Your pool's accessibility features must remain in good working order and available to disabled guests. If you use a portable lift, you may store it outside of pool hours, but you must make it available during the pools hours of operation.
You may also want to make sure that you have the staff available to make sure the lift functions properly at all times. Staff members may also need training regarding its use. They need to know the following:
- The appropriate safety measures for the lift
- How to operate and maintain the lift
- What accessibility features your hotel offers disabled guests, including the lift
If you question whether your pool complies with the requirements of the ADA, it would more than likely be worthwhile to find out for sure. ADA regulations often present a challenge when trying to understand them, so it might help to seek out legal resources here in Tustin to provide you with an explanation of the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design , with an assessment of whether your hotel complies and with the options available to either bring it into compliance or keep it that way.