Updated 06/06/2012 07:25 PM
Deadline to make public pools handicapped accessible pushed back
The U.S. Department of Justice has granted a nine month extension on a regulation that requires that all public pools be made handicapped accessible. YNN's Erin Clarke tells us why the government moved the deadline back and what the people it will affect most think about that.
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SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Sally Johnston would love to take a dip when it gets hot out or while away from home, but she's disabled and that isn't an option at most places, especially hotels.
"We don't use the pools because we can't use the pools. That's why we don't use them. We certainly use the hotels and we spend our money at these hotels," said Johnston.
The Americans with Disabilities Act would have required that all public pools, including those at hotels, have a permanent lift installed by March of this year, but hoteliers pushed back saying the requirements were expensive and unreasonable.
"The law requires if you have a pool and ten feet away, say a spa, the law as it's written requires you to have two lifts as opposed to one portable lift," said Sheraton Syracuse University Security Director Jim Toman.
With lifts costing between $3,000 and $6,000 and possibly more if renovations have to be made to accommodate the device, that's a legitimate concern for smaller establishments, but the large chains can probably get by.
Staff at the Sheraton Syracuse University like to think that they're the exception. Management had this lift installed ahead of the March deadline and they say it comes in handy for more than their disabled clients.
"It could be somebody that just has issues with mobility and this would make it just easier to get in and out of the pool," said Toman.
The Justice Department will grant a reprieve to hoteliers that in good faith can't immediately comply with the law and for now the date to comply has been moved back to January 31, 2013.
Johnston says this feels like a continuous attack on the Americans with Disabilities Act.