New revisions to the Americans with Disabilities Act are bringing hotel recreational areas under the watchful eye of the U.S. Department of Justice for the first time. And unlike other guidelines covered by the 1991 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, recreation areas do not qualify for safe harbor.
- The key issue in exercise rooms is clearance space, the moderators said.
- “At least one of each type of equipment is required to be on an accessible route and have clear floor space adjacent to the equipment so that somebody is able to park their mobility device there and then get out of that device and transfer or may be able to walk and get on to this piece of equipment,” Salmen said.
- More than one piece of equipment can share the same clear floor space, he said.
- “This is going to have implications on how your fitness rooms are laid out, and (in) a lot of small fitness rooms you will have to do rearranging or potentially may even have to lose a piece of equipment in order to try to provide these clear floor areas,” Anderson added.
Saunas and steam rooms:
- Hotels must have accessible routes into saunas and steam rooms. Further, they must have enough space within the rooms so guests with disabilities can turn around and get out, Salmen said.
- “So doors have to be compliant as per the door criteria with 32 inches of minimum clear opening width. The pressure on that door can’t be more than five pounds. The thresholds for those doors have to be compliant,” he said.
- Benches in hotel locker rooms and steam rooms can be as little as 42 inches with a depth of 20 inches to 24 inches, Salmen said.
- “But in these new rules we are now required to have a maneuvering space in front of the bench and at one end of the bench so that it is (easier to slide over) from the wheelchair seat onto the seat of the bench,” he said.
- Benches must be attached to a wall or provide a back rest so users will have something to lean against, Salmen added.