My Comments to the DOJ

As promised, here are my comments to the Department of Justice, in regard to their proposed delay in implementation of the access regulations for pools and spas. Feel free to use any part of it you desire for your own comments. You can submit them here, but do it today, because we only have until April 4, 2012

To Whom it May Concern

As a travel writer who has covered accessible travel exclusively for the past 16 years, I am dismayed and disappointed at the 60 day delay for implementation of the new pool and spa access regulations. And my readers feel the same way. The prevailing mantra seems to be “We’ve already waited 22 years — why do we have to endure more delays?”

And I agree, and strongly oppose the 180 day extension for implementation. For several reasons.

  • First and foremost, the lodging industry is not acting in good faith. They don’t want a delay to promote the “clear and consistent application of the requirements”. They want a delay so they can ramp up their legal machine and fight these regulations in court and in congress. This requested delay is just a stall tactic.
  • Any delay would be inequitable to the property owners who have already planned ahead and installed the needed access modification on their pools. I remember one small innkeeper asking me last fall, “Why are these properties waiting so long to comply? What are they going to do when March 15 rolls around?” I couldn’t answer her question then, but I can now. They never intended to comply.
  • It’s high time to provide independent access to swimming pools and spas. Shared lifts and portable lifts are not acceptable. People deserve independent access. I urge you to keep those parts of the regulations in place. People shouldn’t have to make advance arrangements just to take a quick dip in the pool. Able-bodied guests have independent access, so why shouldn’t disabled guests be granted that same right?
  • If property owners are worried about the liability factor for fixed lifts, they just need to add signage to their pool rules, releasing them from liability and telling guests not to play or climb on the lifts. That’s what they do in regards to the “no lifeguard on duty” situation. Truly, swimming pools present a number of potential dangers, the least of which are unattended pool lifts. Again, I urge you to keep the regulations in place for fixed pool lifts, as portable lifts are usually hard to locate and in ill repair. Ask anyone who has ever requested the use of a portable lift. It always seems to be “not working” on that day. The regulations, as drafted, addressed this problem and I’d like to see them stand.

Last but certainly not least, the lodging industry knew that pool and spa access was inevitable and quite frankly they should have planned better for it. Again, it’s been 22 years — it’s time. In fact, it’s way past time. Please implement the regulations as written as soon as possible. We’ve had enough delays already.

Thank you for the consideration of my comments.

Candy B. Harrington




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