When I was injured in a car accident and became a wheelchair user in 1985, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) didn’t exist. The ADA was passed in 1990, but wasn’t fully implemented until 1992; so for years, I dealt with a completely inaccessible world. Restaurants, bars, movie theaters, and malls may as well have not existed to me.
In 1992, thanks to Republican President George Bush Senior and the ADA, my world slowly became one that would allow me to equally enjoy living in the United States. I could finally go to the bar with my friends, eat at restaurants, attend public events at public facilities, and even work in a commercial building, because they were all accommodating. I no longer needed to be carried into bathrooms, or pulled up the stairs.
Unfortunately, there has been a new and alarming shift taking place in America. It’s 2019, and I find it increasingly difficult to find restaurants and bars that have tables in the main areas that accommodate my wheelchair. Business owners (and the architects/designers who plan their establishments) seem to have very little knowledge of the ADA requirements and universally accessible design. Whether they’ve done this consciously or not, they’ve made our lives less equal. They’ve taken us back to pre-1990, before the ADA was passed and before equality was nationally recognized. We’ve once again been barred from the equal enjoyment of those facilities, and I can’t imagine this being acceptable if done to any other minority group of people.
A friend and I recently checked out some new local restaurants in sunny Fort Lauderdale, and we were met with tremendous examples of this very issue.
At this particular location, not only are high tops the common culprits in this issue of inequality, but picnic tables as well.
Click here to read the full article from PUSHLiving Advisors and see photos from our experience in “high top hell” at local South Florida restaurants.
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