The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law that protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination and ensures equal opportunities. A restaurant should have these standard requirements:
- Aisles, walkways, or routes must be at least 36 inches wide.
- An area, such as 5-foot circle or T-shaped space, must be available for a person using a wheelchair to reverse direction.
Seats, Tables and Counters
- The height of the tops of tables and counters need to be between 28 and 34 inches for wheelchair users.
- Wheelchair accessible tables must be provided. If tables are attached to the wall or floor (fixed), then 5 percent of the tables (or at least one when less than 20 tables) must be accessible.
- There should be accessible seating at each accessible table to accommodate people using wheelchairs. Movable chairs can be used, so the chair can be pulled away from the table when needed.
- Knee room under the table needs to be spacious. The standard requirement for under the table needs to be at least 30 inches wide, 27 inches high, and 19 inches deep.
- Cashier and food-ordering counters must be within reach. This can be a counter that is 36 inches tall (or less) or have a space on the side where restaurant staff can assist customers.
- A door must be easy to use. It should have at least a 32-inch clear opening with handles that are 48 inches high (or less) and can be used with a closed fist.
- There should be one available restroom that is accessible with a sign located to the side of the door.
- Restroom doorways must be at least 32 inches wide for clear passage with the interior having a 36-inch wide path to all fixtures.
- The doors to the restroom must be easily opened without more than a 5-pound force. Accessible handles should be 48 inches high or less.
- Accessible restroom stall handles must be installed so the door can be used with a closed fist.
- Accessible restroom stalls must have at least a 5-foot by 5-foot area for a wheelchair to maneuver within.
- Accessible grab bars needs to be installed both behind and on the sidewall that is nearest to the toilet (with a toilet seat that is 17 to 19 inches high).
Dining out in a wheelchair can be frustrating and inconvenient. However, that should not stop you from going out to eat. Below are some tips to do before going to the restaurant:
Research the restaurant you are going to so you can have an idea of how it looks like (exterior and interior). Check to see if there is an accessible parking if necessary.
Call the restaurant to ask questions that may concern you such as. It is best to be as detail as possible so you can plan your trip accordingly. Below are some examples of questions to ask:
- Are there stairs in front of the entrance? If so, how many?
- Is there a wheelchair ramp to go inside the main entrance?
- Is the restroom wheelchair accessible?
- Is the restaurant wheelchair accessible?
- Can the tables fit a wheelchair?
- Are there enough room to move the wheelchair?