Authored by Robert S. Fine, Esq.
On March 15, 2012, the Attorney General signed a final rule extending the date for compliance with the ADA’s new accessibility to swimming pool requirements (e.g., pool lifts) sixty days to May 21, 2012. Shortly thereafter, the Department issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to make the extension a total of 180 days which would bring the compliance date to September 11, 2012. Many in the hotel industry were hoping that the new rulemaking would result in less onerous requirements, especially for existing swimming pools.
While no one can truly predict the outcome of federal rulemaking, based on the text of the NPRM, it appears as though the DOJ is not considering any changes to the requirements, only an extension of the date. If this turns out to be the case, then what the DOJ is doing is effectively giving the hotel industry a free pass from the pool lift requirement for this summer’s swimming season, and through next Memorial Day for those parts of the country where swimming pools close on Labor Day and don’t reopen until then.
Since it is possible, even if unlikely, that the DOJ will consider comments on the substantive requirements for existing swimming pools, you should take the opportunity to submit any written comments you may have on this subject on or before April 4, 2012. You can find the text of the proposed rulemaking at http://www.ada.gov/regs2010/ADAregs2012/pools_2012_nprm_final.htm and submit your comments at http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=DOJ-CRT-2012-0006-0001.