Pool lift supplier says last minute orders driving demand up

A pool lift supplier says there is some help for mom-and-pop hotels worried about complying with the new ADA standards for pool lifts.

Businesses must update their pools by May 15th so that those who are disabled will have easier access to them. The changes include installing pool lifts or a sloped entry.

Derek White is a consultant for a chair lift supplier. He says that businesses can claim financial hardship and escape a fine.

White says there are also ways to get help paying the $6,000 to $10,000.

"There are federal guidelines established, that they can apply for a tax credit at some hotels. It depends on the number of people that they have as employees, and it also depends on their maximum revenue," he adds.

Fines for non-compliance are up to $50,000. White says there's such a demand right now it takes manufacturers about two months to make the chairs. One Myrtle Beach supplier ordered 35 lifts just last week, he said.

In February, we told you how businesses with pools had until March 15th to comply with new federal regulations set by the Americans with Disabilities Act. The businesses affected by the new rules should have received a letter from the federal government outlining the changes.

As that deadline approached, the U.S. Justice Department, which enforces ADA regulations, granted a 60-day extension.

The lifts are being required under the Americans with Disabilities Act to give the disabled better access to public pools. The new guidelines include requiring a pool under 300 linear feet to provide one means of access that's a sloped entry or a pool lift. For larger pools, there must be two means of access, which can be a pool lift, sloped entry, pool stairs, transfer wall or transfer system. Wading pools must have a sloped entry. Spas and lazy rivers also fall under the regulations. Also under ADA, if you own more than four rental properties with a pool, you must comply.

U.S. Representative Mick Mulvaney from South Carolina and U.S. Senator John Boozman of Arkansas are fighting the act. Hoteliers on the Grand Strand have been concerned about the costs of the lifts. They say they support the ADA, but hope that something like a portable chair could be in compliance. Right now, it's not.

South Carolina U.S. Senator Jim DeMint has filed a bill to allow portable chairs to be in compliance. So far, it has only received Republican support.