ADA Compliance

The 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards went in effect March 2012 and include newly covered elements like mobility devices, service animals, facilities and reservation systems. Lodging and restaurant operators are urged to take the necessary steps to bring various elements into compliance and review existing elements that will be subject to stricter or different specifications. Consultation with professional counsel is recommended.

At ORLA's annual Convention members had the opportunity to learn more about the new standards and ensure they are in compliance in a very informative ADA presentation. ORLA also partnered with Davis Wright Tremaine to present an ADA webinar with valuable information on what the new requirements are and how you can avoid litigation.  

Swimming Pools and Spas

The January 31, 2013, deadline for pool and spa accessibility under the ADA is approaching and members are urged to move forward on complying with the pool lift requirement. Visit the ADA website for more information.


Whether you're building a new restaurant, renovating a current location, or removing existing barriers to guests with disabilities, the NRA's new ADA toolkit gives you all the facts on how new ADA standards could affect your restaurant. The ADA Toolkit is free to NRA members; login is required.

Reservation Systems

Hotels with online reservation systems must allow a disabled guest to book accessible rooms just as non-disabled guests, including choosing a room type and time of day available to make a reservation. The new regulations for reservations are found at 28 C.F.R. 36.302 sub (e), available on the ADA website

Service Animals

The 2010 Standards also provide changes in regulations as they relate to service animals. For more information, read ORLA's article on service animals in the hospitality industry and see also the resources in the sidebar. Changes to be aware of include:

  • Service animals are now limited to any dog that is trained to perform tasks for individuals with disabilities (miniature horses are exception);
  • You are allowed to ask if the animal is needed because of a disability and what work it has been trained to perform - you may not ask for proof that the animal has been trained or certified;
  • You may not charge a pet or usage fee to a guest with a service animal;
  • You may not exclude a service animal from a facility even if state or local health codes prohibit animals

Helpful Links & Resources

Americans with Disabilities Act - ADA regulations, definitions, compliance guidelines
ADA Standards for Accessible Design - Standards for design, recreational facilities
ADA Compliance Tax Incentives - Information about tax incentives for small businesses
ADA National Network - Information, training and technical assistance
AH&LA - Member resources, webinars, articles, communications
AH&LA Educational Institute  - AH&LA Educational Institute ADA service video
BluePath - Marketing tool for hotels to promote accessible features
DOJ Advisory on Pools - DOJ guidance on pools, spas and wading pools
National Restaurant Association - ADA Toolkit for restaurants
U.S. Access Board - Federal agency - accessible design guidelines and enforcement

ORLA members have free access to webinars and information on ADA compliance, including the latest ADA webinar presented by Davis Wright Tremaine. AH&LA members also have access to a number of different online tools including webinars and resources. Log in is required for member access; contact ORLA Membership for your AH&LA member number if needed.