Posted May 25, 2012 04:54 pm CDT
Hotels, water parks, and other facilities with pools recently got another extension to comply with American Disability Act standards, the Associated Press reports.
The Justice Department initially set a March 15, 2012 deadline, but last week extended it to early next year. The ADA rules in question, published in 2010, require new pools to have built-in lifts. Owners of older pools hoped they could be ADA compliant with portable lifts, but in January the Justice Department issued technical guidance, requiring fixed lifts at existing pools. The document was updated May 24.
Also, there’s an exemption that allows existing pools to avoid the requirement if owners find compliance is “not readily achievable.” Determining if a pool could use that exception, the AP reports, could be difficult.
On Thursday, the Justice Department said pool owners who bought portable lifts before the previous March 15 deadline would be in compliance, providing the lift is in place when the pool is open.
“We got such an overwhelming response indicating the widespread misunderstanding of the law and indicating that the pool lift manufacturers are having trouble meeting the demand, so we wanted to make sure people had enough time,” Eve Hill, a senior attorney in the Justice Department’s civil rights division, told the AP.
Some say the hotel industry is behind the deadline extention. They also blame election year politics.
“It’s a little disingenuous to say that came out of nowhere,” Heather Ansley, a lawyer with United Spinal Association, told the AP.