A recent survey of how North American venue operators are currently serving customers in wheelchairs indicates opportunities for improved access. The June 2020 venue accessibility survey was completed as part of a joint study on behalf of IAVM (International Association of Venue Managers) and Lexia.Solutions.
Key findings among venue operators surveyed: 100 percent believe being fully accessible / ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)-compliance is important; however, nearly one-third revealed their venue is not fully ADA-compliant or they are unsure of its status. Further, more than 80 percent indicated that 10 percent or less of the total seats at their venues are currently accessible to guests using wheelchairs, while more than 85 percent said guests using wheelchairs are limited to certain seating locations (with more than half adding that certain seating sections in their venues are not wheelchair accessible). In addition, more than one-third of respondents whose venues have luxury suites said that they are not wheelchair accessible.
The survey also found that only one-third of venues said they have three or more companion seats per wheelchair space—the number strongly encouraged by the ADA—although 98 percent indicated they have at least one companion seat per wheelchair space.
“As the world prepares to reopen amid COVID-19, we believe that planning to ensure safe disability access now is essential to safeguard and promote the rights of one of our nation’s largest minority groups,” said Jeff Runnels, founder and creator of UpLift by Lexia.Solutions. “People who use wheelchairs are often limited by entryways, seat location, visible line of sight and the number of people who can accompany them. These survey results have provided insight into the need for more seating solutions for guests with physical disabilities."
The good news: Just over three-quarters (76 percent) have invested in structural modifications in the last five years to become or remain ADA-compliant. Nearly 20 percent have invested more than $100,000, and nearly 5 percent have invested more than $1 million.
Source: Lexia.Solutions and IAVM