With the holiday shopping season upon us, retailers are giving more attention to merchandise than ADA building compliance. Department stores pack every available space with extra merchandise for the holidays and nowhere is it more crowded than in the store aisles. Retailers view the aisles as extra display space; people with disabilities view them as barriers.
Extra display racks of seasonal items must not block maneuvering clearance at accessible entrances. The same is true throughout the store, with no racks or displays protruding into the aisles.
No Long Tablecloths
While a long tablecloth may make for a pretty display space, it can spill into the aisle, resulting in a tripping hazard. A long tablecloth may also become billowy and snag under a patron’s walker, cane, wheelchair, or other mobility device.
ADA building compliance plans for wall mounted or floor displays, lighting, and decorations to have required head clearance and cane detection for customers who are blind or have low vision.
No Clutter Checkout Zones
The checkout counters are another place where retailers like to display impulse buys and stocking stuffers. Again, basic needs are clear aisles, along with an accessible sales counter.
The same requirements for entrances applies to exits, especially for emergency exits. If the store has evacuation equipment for people who are unable to take stairs, it must be unobstructed and in working order.
According to a report from the U.S. Department of Labor, the large and growing population of people with disabilities has $175 billion in discretionary spending. The holiday season is one in which retailers use every available space to display extra merchandise. Without proper attention to ADA building compliance, retailers stand to lose a significant buying market. If you are facing accessibility challenges this holiday season, contact us.