Sidewalk Travel in Wheelchairs During COVID-19
In a recent article on New Mobility’s website, Sheri Denkensohn-Trott answered a question from a reader who wanted tips on navigating the sidewalks and streets in a wheelchair during COVID-19. The reader explained how the increase in outdoor restaurant seating has led to further mobility issues when navigating sidewalks while using a wheelchair. The reader asked what, if anything, can be done to remedy the situation. Denkensohn-Trott offered a few note-worthy options on how to address the situation.
The first recommendation is to arrange a meeting with the restaurant manager to express your concerns. Restaurants are required to follow American with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines, and wheelchair riding in the street does risk your safety. If the manager is not willing to hear you out or claims you are misinformed, it is within your power to report the situation or file a complaint with your county/town. You could even report the situation to the U.S. Justice Department as a potential ADA violation. Unfortunately, this method is time-consuming and will likely not result in immediate action. A third option involves educating the business or local business groups with an ADA Compliance Guideline document.
While COVID-19 is making traveling increasingly difficult, there are methods through which we can remedy these new challenges. With the tools provided by New Mobility and the United Spinal Association, we might be able to inform businesses, such as the restaurant in the readers initial question, on how they can comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act even during these trying times. Lastly, as this article insists, advocacy is not required of you. Only do what you feel comfortable with. We share this article with you in hopes that it will provide useful information regarding navigation during the COVID-19 pandemic.