Hotels Asking to Extend New ADA Pool Lift Rule Compliance
In the last few months we’ve been featuring blogs and news about the new ADA standards regarding portable pool lift compliance in the hospitality industry. The deadline was March 15th but because of the expense and confusion the new rules caused among hotels, lodges, and spas, the compliance date was extended to May 21st.
The Americans With Disabilities Act calls for the owners of public pools to install lifts or underwater ramps to provide access for people with disabilities. Many in the hotel industry felt they could comply with the law by using portable lifts. However, this changed when the DOJ issued an interpretation of the law on January 31st, saying the law calls for permanently affixed lifts where feasible and affordable.
The cost for permanent lifts is between $2,500 and $6,500 each, plus installation. Pool manufacturers estimate that the law applies to about 256,000 pools and spas across the country. Only a small percentage of those pools are equipped with lifts, they estimate.
Hotels are now asking for more time to comply, up to twelve months. Hotel industry representatives have told Congress that they are concerned that permanent lifts left unattended may be a safety hazard for children, who will be tempted to play on them. The also need more time due to a backlog of orders for permanent lifts, making it impossible to meet the May deadline.
Kevin Maher, senior vice president of government affairs for the American Hotel & Lodging Assn., the trade group for the nation’s hotel industry, said: “It gives us an opportunity to work to assure we have the equal access to pools at all our hotels.”
Pool operators who do not comply with the regulations may be vulnerable to lawsuits, according to hotel industry experts. Some hotel owners in an effort to avoid lawsuits may close their pools if they aren’t in compliance by May 21st.
Be sure to discuss this important exposure with your hotel clients. At IPOAUSA, we can help you with secure insurance coverages for the hospitality industry through various markets. We an also assist you in risk management for this sector. Please give us a call at 877.653.IPOA (4762).