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New ADA Rules Released

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New ADA Rules Released

March 16, 2011

The Department of Justice released the first major revision on regulations for the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) in 20 years.

The rules were signed by Attorney General Eric Holder on July 23, 2010, and the official text was published in the Federal Register on September 15, 2010. The regulations apply to the activities of more than 80,000 units of state and local government and more than seven million places of public accommodation— including stores, restaurants, shopping malls, libraries, museums, sporting arenas, movie theaters, doctors’ and dentists’ offices, hotels, jails and prisons, polling places, and emergency preparedness shelters.

“ADA Update: A Primer for Small Business” has been released to help small businesses understand the new and updated accessibility requirements.

The 2010 standards also include—for the first time—standards on making swimming pools, parks, golf courses, boating facilities, exercise clubs, and other recreation facilities accessible for individuals with disabilities. Entities covered by the ADA have until March 15, 2012 to comply with the 2010 Standards.

In addition to adopting the new ADA 2010 Standards, the amended regulations contain many new or expanded provisions on general nondiscrimination policies, including the use of service animals; the use of wheelchairs and other power-driven mobility devices; the sale of tickets for wheelchair-accessible seating at sports and performance venues; the reservation and guarantee of accessible rooms at hotels; the availability of interpreter services through video conferencing; and the effect of the new regulations on existing facilities.

The compliance date for the all the new nondiscrimination provisions, except for those on hotel reservations, is March 15, 2011. Compliance with the hotel reservation provisions is not required until March 15, 2012.