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Editorial: Uptown businesses need to be accessible for all individuals

Bars and businesses need to work on creating accessible spaces. 

There’s one thing many of us dread as we spend a night Uptown: the inevitable trip to the overcrowded bar where we’ll hardly be able to hear our friends talk, let alone stand comfortably without bumping into a stranger or having a drink knocked out of our hands.

But for individuals with disabilities that make it difficult even to navigate campus, inaccessible bars and uptown businesses create a bigger hassle than just trying to sidestep a spilled tequila sunrise or get your friend’s attention from across the room.

We appreciate those bargoers who may take the time to help someone with a wheelchair bypass a step or push aside hightop tables. However, regulations need to be enforced when it comes to making those spaces accessible for all individuals.

Athens’ Disabilities Commission started going around to local establishments and documenting their accessibility. The commission is planning on creating a rating system later this spring to evaluate businesses and encourage handicap-friendly environments.

If we could snap our fingers, each business would have the proper requirements for accessibility set out by the Americans with Disabilities Act. But that’s not a reality. What is a reality is that Athens is filled with buildings that are old and constructed with out-of-date codes and regulations. That leads to a tricky and expensive snap.

That, however, doesn’t let businesses off the hook. In order to create an environment that is safe and welcoming for all patrons, the money needs to be put into renovating spaces to follow ADA requirements.

Although we might not be able to do much about sticky floors or spilled drinks, we can do something about enforcing regulations that make our town more accessible.

Editorials represent the majority opinion of The Post's executive editors: Editor-in-Chief Emma Ockerman, Managing Editor Rebekah Barnes and Digital Managing Editor Samuel Howard. Post editorials are independent of the publication's news coverage.

 

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