How to Determine if a Restaurant is Wheelchair Accessible

September 14, 2015 | 11:16 am | By Pants Up Easy

If you are a wheelchair user, you’re well aware of the fact that every outing requires a bit of planning. One of the most important factors in your day to day life will be if the establishments you are planning on visiting are wheelchair accessible. In order to help your day go more smoothly, do a bit of research beforehand to find out whether or not you will be able to easily maneuver in and out of the places you will be going. If you’re meeting up with friends or family for a bite to eat, there are a few things you can do before you arrive to determine if a restaurant is wheelchair accessible.

The first thing you can do is go online to see if you can find the information. Many restaurants will list on their website if they are wheelchair accessible. If you don’t find the information on their personal website, check out review sites such as Yelp. These sites will often list the information, and may even have feedback from other wheelchair users regarding whether or not the restaurants accommodations are truly made for those in a wheelchair.

You can also ask around to find out if anyone you know has visited the restaurant. This will give you a better idea of whether or not you will be able to easily get around in your wheelchair. While some websites may say that a restaurant is accessible, that may simply mean they have a ramp so that you can enter the building. Their restroom may not be large enough for a wheelchair, or it may be difficult to maneuver in the dining area. Until you’ve seen the location with your own eyes, or can speak to someone who has, it can be difficult to know if a place is truly cut out for wheelchair use.

The best approach is to call the restaurant and speak with someone on staff to find out your answer. Ask detailed questions about access to the restaurant, main dining areas, patios, and bar area. Find out if the restroom is large enough to accommodate a wheelchair, and if grab bars are in place to make your experience more manageable. Most employees will have the answers, or will at least be able to find someone who does.

More and more restaurants can be identified as truly wheelchair accessible these days because of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires that newly built or extensively renovated buildings be accessible to disabled people. If you are visiting a restaurant that has been constructed recently, you are almost certain to be in the clear. But if you live in a city with many historical buildings, your chances may not be quite as great. This is why a bit of research beforehand is well worth the effort that it takes. The frustration that you feel when you arrive to a restaurant and are unable to dine as planned can be incredibly disappointing, so a bit of effort on your part before you head out the door is always a good idea.

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