Welcome back to our blog series on ADA compliance! In our previous blog, we answered some frequently asked questions about the background and importance of the ADA. In this edition, we’ll cover some of the things you can do to ensure your business is meeting ADA compliance. That list is practically a mile long and equally as comprehensive, which is why we’re dedicating a blog to covering the many things for compliance you can do to support your customers. Take a look at some of the ways you can increase accessibility for all, and get the mobility solutions you need — from platform lifts to stairlifts and everything in between — at Able Care!
Change your seating options.
More often than not, thoughts of “ADA compliance” make it seem like a complete architectural overhaul is in order. This, however, is not always the case. Sometimes ADA compliance looks like furnishing your restaurant with tables and chairs that can adapt to the needs of people with different abilities, such as being wheelchair accessible. Having fixed tables with movable chairs can be one option for increasing accessibility, because it can make it easier to get to a table in a wheelchair. At the government page for the ADA, there are additional requirements and measurements that can be used as a guideline.
Adjust counters and shelves.
If you currently have a store with a relatively tall checkout counter (higher than 36 inches), this could present as a roadblock for people with disabilities. In a wheelchair, it could be hard to reach the counter if it’s too high, which is why it’s essential to lower your counter.
Additionally, any shelves and aisles you might have could also pose as a barrier. For people with wheelchairs, walkers, or crutches, they might need more space to get through. It’s important to keep this in mind, and adjust shelving accordingly to allow for more space. The heights of shelves should also be considered as another method to create an equitable business for others.
Create an accessible entrance and walkway.
For buildings and sidewalks constructed after the 1992 (the year the ADA went into effect), this is likely not an issue. We often see slanted sidewalks along the sidewalk and at the entrance to newer buildings, which are in accordance with the ADA. However, any buildings built before 1992 might not have the same architecture. Larger buildings could definitely benefit from getting a commercial wheelchair ramp installed by the team at Able Care, and for smaller businesses, we have a number of wheelchair ramps in various sizes that could work for your establishment.
In addition to your accessible entrance, be sure your doors can be easily opened and closed. Automatic doors are one solution, especially convenient for bigger corporations with lots of traffic (or such as grocery stores, where people are coming and going with lots of items. The ADA explains that even using a loop-type door handle can be helpful, as it doesn’t require grasping or twisting a knob to open the door. Having an automatic door button is another great answer, as people can easily reach and push a button to make entrance easy.
These are not only ADA compliant practices, but this also helps make getting into your building simple. And as a general rule of business goes, you can’t sell to customers if people can’t get through the door!
Make your multi-level building accessible.
Various boutiques or supply stores might have more than one story to their establishment. In certain instances, installing an elevator — especially in larger corporations — is essential to creating an equitable environment. But in some instances, it might seem like an architectural overhaul to make that happen. Luckily, Able Care can offer solutions for both types of businesses. We offer platform lifts that can make going up stairs easier than ever, as well as elevator lifts! Contact us to get started.
Supply accessible print options.
For anyone with visual impairment or blindness, you can also meet ADA compliance by providing the necessary materials to access anything that requires traditional reading. The purpose of the ADA is to provide equity to people of all abilities, and this absolutely includes people with any visual disabilities. Providing Braille for certain parts of your establishment is essential for easing access and mobility for those with visual impairment, and also fits under being ADA compliant. Elevator keypads and buttons, bathrooms, and even menus could all benefit from being more accessible.
Provide notice of certain allowances.
Oftentimes, businesses create a “no animal” policy to maintain the integrity of their building. Keep in mind that a seeing eye dog or other service animal is a necessary part of creating more equitable circumstances for many people. This means that you could adapt your policy to simply allow for service animals, or provide a sign that indicates these working animals are welcome in your establishment. It’s a simple step, but one that strives for inclusivity (and has positive impacts as a result).
Additionally, sometimes businesses have a rule about not bringing bikes or other wheeled vehicles into their store. Feel free to have a specific notice about leaving bikes, scooters, or skateboards outside, but make sure people know that their wheelchairs are absolutely welcome.
Improve parking lots as necessary.
Certain businesses — particularly in downtown areas — likely won’t even have parking lots, so this is not necessarily an ADA compliant practice that they can follow. But in other circumstances, parking lots might currently be located far away from the building, or be lacking in handicap parking spaces. Find a solution that makes parking easier for people of various abilities, and make sure your lots are accessible all year long! The New Jersey winters are full of ice and snow and freezing temps, making it necessary that you maintain a safe and easy-to-navigate lot for everyone.
There are so many things you can do to provide ADA compliance for your business. Each of these measures are a vital way to provide more equity in your community, along with ensuring the needs of your clients are met. When you are mindful of the colorful array of abilities that comprise our world, it goes without saying that everyone will benefit. Your customers will feel welcomed, your client base can grow, and you can provide a service in a way that reaches so many others.
When you’re ready to continue making your business as ADA compliant as possible, the team at Able Care Group is more than ready to help. Contact our New Jersey-based mobility solutions company today to get the best in platform lifts, ramps, wheelchair lifts, stairlifts, and many other accessible options. With Able Care Group at your side, your business and your customers alike will experience the positive and powerful impact that accessibility and equity can bring.