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Consumer Protection/Code Enforcement Division


Equal Access to Public Accommodations

The law gives people with disabilities the right to equal access to all places of “public accommodation.” It also prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities.

What is a “public accommodation”?
The term is broadly defined and includes virtually all businesses (including restaurants, bars, hotels, shopping centers, retail stores, dry cleaners), as well as schools, hospitals, and daycare centers.

What are public accommodations required to do for the disabled?

• Provide goods and services in the most integrated setting possible. For example, a hairdresser may not place a customer with a disability in a separate part of the shop simply because of the disability.

• Make reasonable modifications to policies, practices, and procedures in order to make their goods and services available to people with disabilities. For example, businesses with a "no pets allowed" policy must modify the policy by making an exception for service animals used by people with disabilities.

• Remove structural and architectural barriers, where readily achievable. Examples of barriers are curbs and steps; narrow doorways and aisles; restroom stalls that are too narrow for use by a person who uses a wheelchair; and inaccessible drinking fountains and telephones. “Readily achievable” means “easily accomplishable and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense.”

For more information about the rights of persons with disabilities, call the Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office at 310-458-8336 (voice) or 310-458-8696 (TTY).

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