Spring is here. You can’t wait to splash around in that tempting pool while on vacation. But wait! As a person with disabilities, you may need a lift or ramp to get into the water. And not every public swimming pool or hotel pool offers an accessible lift or ramp. But they soon will. Just not as soon as we thought…

Originally the Dept. of Justice set March 15 as the deadline for having a lift or ramp installed in every public pool, but at the last moment opponents convinced the Dept. to issue a 60-day extension of the deadline, saying there aren’t enough lifts or ramps in stock for every pool. A six-month extension may follow.

The mandatory lifts require hotels and other public facilities, like health clubs and recreational centers to install a lift or ramp that would make indoor and outdoor swimming pools accessible to people with disabilities. Spas must also have either a lift or transfer system.

The new regulation requires permanently affixed handicapped-accessible ramps and lifts for people with disabilities or face a fine of up to $55,000—or more. The devices must be permanent structures, not portable ones.

Some hotels and motels now have a single portable lift available for people with disabilities. The lift is moved as needed between a swimming pool and hot tub, then stored away when not needed. Under the new rule, a permanently affixed lift must be in place at every swimming pool, spa and hot tub.

Hotels or public pool operators not in compliance with the Justice Department’s mandate will face fines and possibly legal action.

For more information, visit the ADA website at ada.gov.

The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) is an advocate for mobility and accessibility for drivers with disabilities. If you need help with converting or buying a handicap accessible car, truck or van, please consider one of our mobility equipment dealers.

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