The deadline to comply with the new Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements for pools has been extended by 60 days to May 15, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on Thursday, the day of the original deadline. The DOJ did not extend the deadline on other new ADA requirements, including those involving the space required around fitness equipment at gyms and counter heights in restrooms.
The pool deadline could be extended even further, as the DOJ also issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that seeks comments on whether the compliance deadline should be extended for another six months. The DOJ is allowing comments on this proposal for 15 days.
Operators of pools at fitness centers and hotels, among other locations, were to have complied by March 15 with new ADA requirements to have a lift or other method for disabled people to access pools in their facilities. The DOJ did not comment on why the pool requirement deadline was extended, but several media outlets reported that it was due to confusion on the part of pool operators about whether permanently installed lifts or temporary lifts were required and whether one lift could be used for more than one pool. The media outlets also reported that the hotel industry launched a letter-writing and phone call campaign to request the deadline.
Initially, the DOJ had indicated portable lifts were acceptable and one portable lift could be used for several pools at a facility. However, in February, the DOJ clarified that each pool at a facility must have a “fixed” lift. If business owners could demonstrate that complying is not readily achievable, they could use a portable lift at each pool.