The federal government has instituted new regulations to increase access for disabled people, including access to pools open to the public. While that’s a noble intention, as a practical matter these regulations are going to mean fewer amenities for everyone. Hotels, rather than make expensive modifications or risk costly fines/lawsuits, are opting to get rid of their pools.
Hoteliers must have pool lifts to provide disabled people equal access to pools and whirlpools, or at least have a plan in place to acquire a lift. If they don’t, they face possible civil penalties of as much as $55,000.
There are about 51,000 hotels, according to the American Hotel & Lodging Association, and most have pools.
The lifts are required by regulations made in 2010 stemming from the Americans With Disabilities Act, a civil rights law that bans discrimination based on disability.
With just days before the deadline, some hotels are considering shutting their pools or whirlpools to avoid penalties or possible lawsuits.
As usual, government regulation makes everything worse.
I, personally, am very supportive of efforts to make pretty much everything more accessible for the disabled. But the government telling private businesses and property owners what level of access they must provide, to the extent of forcing some of these business/property owners to shut down parts of their venues as a result, strikes me as overreach.
While trying to make pools more accessible, the government has actually made them less accessible for everyone.