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Despite the Department of Justice’s May 24 clarification and the looming Jan. 31 deadline for the installation of fixed pool lifts to existing pools, the hotel industry remains largely quiet on the issue. Two of the largest lift manufacturers say orders came to a halt early this year, and they’re only now starting to pick up again. And most hotel owners, management companies and franchisors declined comment on this suddenly hot-button issue, citing either a lack of knowledge or fear of becoming a target.
The dispute came to a head in July when a coalition of disability rights organizations launched a national boycott and awareness campaign against the hotels and chains represented on the boards of the American Hotel & Lodging Association and the Asian American Hotel Owners Association, the industry’s leading lobbying groups. The AH&LA says it is working to educate its members on the law and how to comply, but it also hopes to keep educating Congress and the DOJ on its position that portable lifts would be a better solution.
It’s the latter part that has disability rights advocates up in arms. They see the continued resistance and legislative efforts to change the law or to limit the DOJ’s abilities to enforce the law as an effort to roll back the 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act.