Have you ever been to a restaurant, or any public facility, without wheelchair access? This was probably incredibly inconvenient for you, and may have resulted in you leaving the establishment entirely. Your discontent with your injustice is absolutely justified, and it is more than just a hindrance. If you’re wondering how that could possibly be legal, you’ll be pleased to know that it is not. Restaurants in Maryland are required to have wheelchair access because of the ADA, and not having it can have serious consequences. If you’ve recently been to a restaurant and they did not have wheelchair access, read on to find out more about what you can do.
Not a New Development
Having an older building is not an excuse for having no wheelchair access. Any building built after 1993 is required to have wheelchair access, which includes all parts of the premises. The restaurant must be accessible, but so too must the parking lot, sidewalks, and other surrounding areas. While buildings built before the 1993 cutoff point do not have to be fully accessible, they still need to make adjustments where possible. This means providing alternative methods to access their goods and services. Restaurants that have renovated after 1992 must also be equipped with wheelchair access.
What the ADA Says
Title III of the ADA says: “No individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of a disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation by any person who owns, leases (or leases to), or operates a place of public accommodation (42 USC § 12182(a)).” This means restaurants are not allowed to discriminate against you due to your disability, and they must accommodate you to the best of their ability.
Exceptions to the Rule…
In some cases, alterations may not be allowed due to structural concerns. However, any added portion of the restaurant after 1993 must have wheelchair access, and many restaurants have created additions to their facilities in order to accommodate those with disabilities.
If a building is legally considered historic, it may not be able to be altered without damaging its historical aspects. In this case, disability access may not always be possible. Some historic restaurants are willing to sacrifice this in order to give access, but others are not, and they are within their legal rights to keep their building as is. If you have any more questions regarding the construction of restaurant wheelchair access in Maryland, you can reference this page. A violation of the ADA is very serious and needs to be reported immediately. If you need any more information on wheelchair use, wheelchair access, or wheelchair accessories, you can visit Freedom Mobility’s website. Feel free to come visit us in person, too! We’ve got plenty of professional resources regarding disability and wheelchair usage, and we’re here to help get you on the right track for your future.