Responding to concerns from hotel and recreational pool owners and operators, the Department of Justice has extended the deadline for public pools to comply with the new accessibility regulations regarding pool lifts until January 31, 2013. The DOJ had previously extended the deadline through May 21, 2012 to allow additional time for compliance, as well as to accept further public comment.
The DOJ explained the extension is provided in response to the “significant concerns and misunderstandings” among pool owners and operators regarding the technical requirements relating to the pool lift regulations. The extension is provided to allow owners and operators an opportunity to develop and implement plans to comply with the accessibility regulations and to address the reported difficulty in obtaining compliant pool lifts resulting from manufacturers’ inability to keep up with the increased demand.
Many hotel and pool operators had hoped that the DOJ would modify the regulations to allow the use of portable pool lifts rather than fixed installations; however, the DOJ remains steadfast in its requirements that permanently installed pool lifts be provided where it is readily achievable. Pools built after March 15, 2012 are not protected by this safe harbor extension and must currently be in compliance with all regulations governing accessibility, including those relating to pool lifts. Finally, the DOJ noted that the extension expires well before the start of summer 2013 swim season, signaling it is unlikely to extend the deadline beyond next summer.
Additional information regarding the ADAAG's requirements for recreational facilities, including pool lifts, can be found here.