Seasonal, temporary and pop-up retailers have an added challenge this year. As of March, any retail space constructed or altered must meet the Department of Justice’s latest ADA requirements and the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design.
That applies to all new retail construction and any alterations to retail spaces; and if an existing facility is used, then retailers must conduct “readily achievable barrier removal.”
Eve Hill, senior counselor to the assistant attorney general for the civil rights division of the Department of Justice and a subject-matter expert on ADA, explained, “The readily achievable barrier removal obligation may be determined partially in light of the temporary nature of the space and whether the retailer already owns the space or is just renting it for a short period of time. Either way, both the retail tenant and the landlord have obligations regarding physical access to an existing space.”
When a retailer moves into a space, they should consider what the barriers are and which ones are “readily achievable” to remove. According to Hill, determining what can be readily removed is based in part on the resources available to the retailer.
“A large regional or national retail company has more resources to dedicate to making the space accessible than a mom-and-pop retailer might have, so that is taken into consideration when deciding what is readily achievable,” she noted.
For the purposes of the ADA compliance, both tenants and landlords are equally responsible to the person with a disability. For instance, if a person with a disability tries to gain access and is unable to do so, they are allowed to sue the landlord, the tenant or both.
When a retailer is opening a seasonal or temporary store in an existing space that was already in compliance with the ADA’s 1990 standards, the retailer doesn’t have to modify the space to the 2012 standards unless they are physically altering the space. Simply adding merchandise or painting the walls does not alter the space, but additions, such as built-in cabinets, movable racks or even temporary point-of-sale lanes, are required to comply with new standards.
Additionally, a pop-up store tha