In conjunction with the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the U.S. Department of Justice recently unveiled two major regulatory actions that will significantly impact the hospitality industry.

The first of the regulatory actions is the issuance of a Final Rule that revises the existing regulations for Title III of the ADA governing public accommodations and commercial facilities. The Final Rule becomes effective six months after its publication in the Federal Register (September 15, 2010 is the expected publication date) and makes changes to the law in a number of key areas. Click here to learn more.

The second major regulatory action concerns two Advanced Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) that were issued under Title III of the ADA covering public accommodation websites, equipment and furniture. In one ANPRM, issued on July 26, 2010, the Department expressed its intent to issue regulations requiring websites of public accommodations to be accessible and posed 19 questions for public comment. These regulations, when finalized, will have an especially dramatic impact on hospitality companies that typically have complex websites and furnish electronic and technology equipment (e.g., self-check-in and check-out machines, ticketing machine and point of sale devices in retail space), furniture and exercise equipment for customer use. The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) is working with Seyfarth Shaw to draft comments in response to these ANPRMs. The comment deadline for both ANPRMs is January 24, 2011.